The Grey Room

Several seasons ago, in a suburb in the states
There lived a gentleman named Trent Coulter Gates
From the outside of his home, he appeared quite well
But he was enduring a most miserable spell

Just a few weeks before, he had lost his dear wife
Charlotte Gates was his best friend and partner in life
Trent spent his days alone, unsure how to grieve
Until he decided it would be best to leave

The photos of Charlotte that hung on his walls
Did not make him miss her any less at all
Her clothes in the closet, and her snacks in the cupboard
Were grim reminders that made him sob and shudder

So he packed his suitcase, and threw it in the car
He took off with just one destination… far
Driving highways and rubble roads, he crossed state lines

Hoping to leave his heavy grief behind

As the night fell
And the moon shone above
Trent passed a hotel
Where he might be rid of
This constant gloom
That came with losing love
So he booked a room
That was just cheap enough

The stout concierge
Put down Trent’s name
And showed him to the stairs
Noting his distinct pain
He asked “My good sir,
Tell me, are you alright?”
And Trent sadly whispered
“My friend, not tonight”

He hauled his bags
Up five flights of stairs
Since the elevator shaft
Was under repairs
He made it to his room
Number 505
It was dreary as a tomb
Yes, it felt unalive

The walls were dark grey
The furniture was uncolored
His view was an alleyway
And his bed had plain covers
It was blank and unplayful
But that was just want Trent needed
No reminders of Charlotte
From reality, he retreated

His first inclination in the grey room was to act like Charlotte hadn’t died
But of course, he couldn’t convince himself his wife was there at his bedside
So he made himself think she was back at the house, where she’d normally reside
All thoughts of Charlotte no longer living, Trent Gates forcefully denied

To maintain the illusion that things were just as they’d always been
He approached the door to the room, as if he might just head home again
But upon tugging, he realized the door would not budge even slightly
He pulled with all the force he could muster, and the door did not take it kindly

He thought to himself This cannot be, in all my years staying at hotels
I’ve never been trapped inside of a room, I mean… did the hinges swell?
Trent examined the door, and it seemed quite normal from what he could tell
So he laughed it off, and walked on away, certain it would fix itself

He sat on his bed, trying to pretend he was not at all short of luck
Pretending Charlotte was fine, he was perfectly happy, and the door was not stuck
But this deception couldn’t last long, a minute passed and he stood up with rage
All the emotions came flooding back, and he wanted his life to change

He wanted Charlotte
To be here with him
She always knew what to do
She was his angel
And though she lived within
His soul felt empty as the room

He knew it wasn’t fair
But he was most mad at her
As if she’d somehow chosen dying
He was mad at her air
For leaving her lungs
He was mad at her blood for drying

He was mad at a God
Who he’d never believed in
For taking his love from the Earth
He was mad at the flawed
World he was conceived in
He had not felt so helpless since birth

Trent needed an outlet
A vessel for his fury
So he kept pulling at the door
But it would not let him out yet
It was sealed shut surely
So he yanked and pulled some more

Trent pleaded out loud for someone to aid him
This strange grey room was a hell, not a haven
He was locked inside with his torturous thoughts
Was this some sort of premeditated plot?

“Somebody help me, this door will not open
I’ve been pulling so hard and I just keep hoping
The hinges will move, but nothing is changing
I’m trapped in here, painfully waiting

For someone to tell me that I will be fine
For someone to give me a little peace of mind
Please, I would give every last thing I own
To change this situation, to feel less alone

I wish so badly Charlotte was not dead
Whoever’s in charge, please take me instead”
Trent realized how his mind and the room overlapped
Both were pitifully grey, and in both, he was trapped

Retreating to his bed, Trent sunk into a sad and soundless slumber
He regretted every bad moment with Charlotte, each mistake and blunder
He missed her gleeful lovely light, and shining sense of wonder
And he pitied the future skies of stars they would never lie under

He turned and tossed in his sleep, clutching his tear-dampened pillow
Mourning the cheerful talks and evening walks he was still owed
Even in sleep, he felt drained of life, as he did quite often
And this damned grey room with the broken door was a nail in his coffin

He slept for hours, much longer than usual, and even more after that
Then he awoke and moved about the room, depressed in each place he sat
Trent Coulter Gates reached his lowest point since the moment Charlotte passed
And then he felt a flicker, not hope, but healing, a sign of improvement at last

It was the knowledge that this pain was survivable, and he could tolerate it
He did not yet have a system to deal with the grief, but he would create it
He accepted the cold reality that he would live without his wife
And he knew the hurt would exist in some form for the rest of his life

This was not the end
Of Trent Gates’ journey
More so, it was the start
He had finally proven
Despite his hurting
He would not be torn apart

He would grow around grief
And weather the phases
Allowing his life to persist
He would maintain belief
Through difficult mazes
He’d be grateful to still exist

Trent walked through the room
Passing the grey walls
And arrived, yet again, at the door
It was no different, he assumed
It had not changed at all
But regardless, he’d try once more

Only when Trent accepted
He’d need another way
Opening the door was not possible
Was he then able to exit
It swung open right away
For the door was a push, not a pull

2 thoughts on “The Grey Room

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