Gary Rinsem

Master Bedroom
(non salacious)

Near the end, this journal became a diary.

Today, Andrew and Mary asked about the condition of the master bedroom. We're close, but not that close. We're close enough for them to live with us, but even Susan only knows a bit of the story behind the master bedroom. I've never been able to write about it under any other context, but maybe I can in the context of the master bedroom.

BB and I spent a long time doing small bits of remodeling on our house. The three front bedrooms, front bathroom and the hallway were all done and far better than new, waiting for new carpets which were planned as soon as the master bedroom was done.

BB were driving a motorhome/bus from Ohio to Scottsdale. I didn't know that their full plan included finally moving to Scottsdale. I only found out from their roommates after BB died. It was a surprise they were planning. They already quit their jobs and moved out of their apartments. I was working hard on the master bedroom, to surprise BB when they got here. What I knew of the vacation plan was only that we'd take a month long journey in the motorhome. Our itinerary started off on the west coast, visiting every location we'd been to while in the Navy. There was a map marked with so many sentimental spots that it couldn't be used for navigation.

BB were on their way and I'd received a couple phone calls updating me on their progress. A long time without a call made me worry, but all I could do was to keep working hard on the master bedroom. I wanted the surprise to be as far along as possible when they got home. There's a built in TV nook partially completed in the bedroom. On the shelf I had snacks and Mt. Dew and the cordless phone, among a bunch of remodel stuff.

The phone rang around 10 pm. I'd been at it all day for several days. I was standing in the middle of the room, sweating from working hard on the project. I rushed to grab the phone in anticipation of the call being BB. The voice on the phone identified himself as a cop from Ohio. That's the instant I died. I knew BB were dead. There's no other reason a cop from Ohio would be calling me, especially at that hour. I stepped back to the middle of the room and sat on a bucket. The cop danced around the issue for a while, far too long, I couldn't take it. I yelled at him to get to the point. He spoke their full names followed by the words "died in a vehicular accident." I was already in shock when he said it, but those words made it real. I'd never see BB again. It is the worst moment of my entire life. I still have nightmares recreating that instant in time.

It's of absolutely no importance, but the fate of the master bedroom was sealed in that instant. We'd only recently began using the second bedroom, until then we had little use for the house beyond the master bedroom. In the living room, there was an old couch and a recliner and a big console TV. Nothing else anywhere in the house. After seven years we'd planned and picked furniture, but waited to buy until the remodeling was complete. I asked questions and got all the facts of the accident. I only recall a few critical items from all that he told me. It happened in darkness early that morning. I vividly remember walking out of the bedroom and very gently closing the door.

I was in complete shock for at least a year. Within a few months I lost not only my job, but any chance of continuing the career I worked years to create. It was of supreme importance to me, but I didn't even perceive it happening. It was at least a year and maybe three when the shock faded. When my mind cleared a bit I went into shock over the loss of the only other part of my life which meant anything to me, my career. I spent more than twenty years dedicated to that career. Thousands of hours had been devoted to learning the disciplines of engineering. Four years service in the military was only to give me a chance at a career. I sacrificed a great deal and suddenly it was all gone. Fortunately, I retained the knowledge which allowed me to start an unrewarding and partially related career in robotics. After all, power plants are just giant robots.

I think it was late in 1997 when I purged my life of everything BB. My father dying was the impetus for it. I was trying to end the nightmare and blamed it's continuance on the reminders of them. There were a couple hundred photos in two boxes. Like a stranger I sat in a chair in front of the trash can and tossed them in, one at a time. Still in denial, detached from all emotion, I lost the most important part of BB that I had. Those pictures would mean everything in the world to me if I had them now. I even took the framed picture of our ship off the wall and tossed it, because BB hung it there. While I hated the ship, they loved and romanticized it. OK, change the tone and come back to this later when I'm not crying too hard to see the monitor.

It took days, but I went through all the back ups of my PCs and deleted every copy of every picture of BB. I deleted every email, even from the back ups. I deleted all the files they had, mostly nudie pictures the crew screen capped from movies. All that remains of BB is one picture I missed and the journal files they transcribed from notebooks. I went through more than a thousand journals and deleted the comments they added to my writing. I only missed about twenty.

Back to the master bedroom...

In the early 2000s it had been seven or eight years since the door was opened. I closed it permanently that night in 1995. It was the only way I could continue to live here. I needed to keep the house even though I was denying that BB were a part of it. A woman I knew went in there around 2002. Against my yelling at her to stop, she body slammed the door to make it open with a loud crack as the dried paint broke loose between door and jam. It was sheer horror for me to see that door open. Following Lexie into the room was an out of body experience. I can't describe it. A vision of the master bedroom was still fresh in my mind from that night. Not one thing was different and I went into shock seeing it again. I lived those years looking at that closed door, and seeing nothing of it. Denial was still in full force until the door opened. The scene included several panels of sheetrock, the ladder I'd spent years doing without, tools I often needed and some I'd replaced, a pile of demolition debris and building supplies and a neatly laid stack of blue cloth shop towels. I turned to see my Mountain Dew glass, long evaporated, sitting in the TV nook with a bowl of chips and a package of Mothers chocolate chip cookies.

Between the scene in the room and my obvious shock, Lexie sensed something was wrong and got out of there. I had a flashback to the last time, as I once again closed the door on the master bedroom. Two or three years passed when in the summer of 2004 Susan went in the master bedroom. I think it was the morning of the first time she spent the night. I'd been here, mostly alone, for sixteen and a half years. Only the first seven were happy and even that had been overshadowed by BB's coming out problem. We never got to live here because of the hate and bigotry in the world. They only recently started to admit they loved each other, to a few of the neighbors. Susan was standing in the middle of the room when she called out to me. From the echo in her call, I guessed where she was and rushed back there. Susan had severe jealousy issues and couldn't hear about anyone from my past. I lied to her about the condition of the room and got the door closed once again.

I couldn't tell Susan to stay out of the room, not without telling her the reason and I couldn't tell the reason. I had a serious problem. I had to clean out the room, but emotion caused me to be absolutely dysfunctional just from looking at the master bedroom door. Panicked to get it cleaned out, I took a great many small steps over a couple weeks. I went in there several times a day. Each time I opened the door, my distress was lessened, my flashbacks to the phone call were less severe and I was able to stay in the room long enough to begin clearing out the objects in there. I imagined the day when I'd finish remodeling the master bedroom, and I even expected that Susan and I would use it together. That part was foolish. I can never get to that point.

When Susan moved in she took over the master bedroom, using it as storage for a moving van full of hoarded garbage. She packed BB's bedroom to the ceiling and there was nothing I could say about it. I remodeled the rest of the house, but Susan made it possible for me to ignore the problem with the master bedroom. By the time we got sick the hoarded crap had been moved to a large storage locker. The room was empty for the first time. Susan is dying in the third bedroom and I can do nothing aobut it except try to keep her comfortable. Mary and Andrew asked about the master bedroom and I answered with a non answer, rather than blatant lie. They are both beautiful minds, they knew I didn't want to answer and they let the subject drop. I'll never touch that room again as long as I live. I can't. It's where all three of us died, BB and me.

Susan is obviously going to die soon. I don't know what I'll do with a second room in the house that I can't enter. My only hope is that she'll go to hospice before the end. They've been to see her, she did all the paperwork. I don't want to influence her decision, but I can't help it. Whenever the subject comes up I say only very positive things about Hospice Of The Valley. And they're all true. Dad and Sandy were both made very comfortable there, but Susan keeps saying she wants to die at home. It's important to her. What the hell do I do?