Early (Hidden) Roots

The house is brand new and we move in without our mother, who is in the hospital getting our new baby.  There are three floors of living space, but I am most interested in the room in the basement – the one that no one else knows exists (except my dad, of course, ’cause he built the house.)  You have to go through the rec room, past the door to the bar,  into the laundry room, and then squeeze past the furnace. There’s a long narrow hallway that leads to a secret room behind the bookcase.  The walls here are concrete, but there is a rug on the floor, and some of those fold-up chairs.  There are boxes too, and it smells kind of bad, but the best part is a hole in the wall, just large enough to peek through, and if  I come down here before anyone else, I can spy on them.  Mostly, it’s my oldest sister and her icky boyfriends – boy are there things I could tell Mom and Dad, except I’m not supposed to be here, and if Dad knew, he’d kill me, so I have to keep it quiet.  Why do we need a secret room anyway?

Frosty panes glisten,
while innocence bears witness –
mysteries rampant.

(Lillian at dVerse invites us to delve into the traditional with a halibun examining a room from our early childhood. )

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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

18 thoughts on “Early (Hidden) Roots”

  1. I assume your (and your sister’s!) innocence was lost at some point…I thought of a storm shelter but suspect the secret may be darker than a passing storm.

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  2. Great piece….the menace behind it is disturbing to say the least. Also, I like the haiku, I had no idea what a traditional haiku was…but when done properly the form has a certain po-faced quality that seems essentially Japanese.

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  3. You give us a mysterious glance into your past, and you follow it up with a cryptic comment. This is most intriguing.

    I searched for a secret room in every house I lived in throughout childhood. I looked for a discrepancy in the number of windows inside and outside the house. I hunted for hidden trapdoors and concealed doors… with no success.

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  4. I enjoyed this read very much. I enter your new house in the prose section, seeing it through your eyes and your temperament at that time…IE those icky boys 🙂 And you lead us there, following your path “through the rec room, past the door…” etc. It’s truly like we’re walking right behind you, hushed and maybe even tiptoeing so no one else knows where we’re going. And then you leave us in a mystery…what was that room for? I’m reminded of the bomb shelter rooms that folks built with their houses back in the day. Or maybe a root cellar room? And you end the prose with your question….you’re not really sure at the time about that secret room either.
    The haiku portion is wonderfully done and a traditional haiku indeed. From that first line, we understand the kigo (the season is given in the word “frosty” when applied to the panes. And the kireji is there in the hyphen too. I’m reminded of a quiet winter morning with the land covered in a fresh blanket of snow….the mystery of what’s beneath…the mystery of the hidden.
    Thanks so much for posting to the prompt! I really enjoyed it!

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    1. Thanks, Lillian. I appreciate you taking us back to original haiku ( as I first learned it). It truly is art. They were more secret spaces in that house and I would not learn their significance for many years – a tale for another day


    1. It was one of several hiding places built into the home. My father’s need – a secret that would undo us. For this poem, I chose to only reveal the mystery as I perceived it.

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