A ROOM OF ONE'S ONE (1929) is a non-fiction book by Virginia Woolf critiquing the curtailed prospects of women writers.
12/07/09 | Novel

A Room of One's Own

by Paul Kavanagh

I like lying in bed.

Get up, said my mother. She was standing at the door. When I was sixteen I told her never to set foot in my bedroom and since that day, my birthday, my mother as always stood at the door.

Get up, said my mother. Your Uncle will be here soon.

Last week, sometime last week, we had a terrible fight my mother and me. I told my mother that I had no plans. I went further. I informed my mother that I did want to be an astronaut, or a doctor, or even a fireman. My mother cried at first and then she threw something at me. I cannot recall what the object was that flew across the room. It could have been a plate. It could have been an elephant. After the fight I went back to bed. From my bed I could hear my mother on the phone. You need to take him out with you, said my mother. There was a silence. I think it was around this time that I fell asleep.

I’ve made you a lovely cup of coffee, said my mother. The cup of coffee was in between her feet on the carpet. Wisps of steam rose up and were lost between her legs. I wanted to say something but I was sick and tired of fighting. Lately all we had been doing was fighting.

Thank you mother, I said. She left the cup of coffee and went back down stairs. I turned and faced the wall. I do not hate my mother. I love my mother but now I am far from that one nipple that gave me food. When I got up and got my cup of coffee the coffee was cold even so I still drank the coffee. It was nice and sweet. I climbed back into bed. Looking up at the ceiling I heard my mother on the phone again. Please come and pick him up he is in need of the air, said my mother.

I closed my eyes. I opened my eyes. Don’t you want a television in your room, said my mother. No, I said. I might have wanted a television in my room, but I did not want to tell my mother that I wanted a television in my room.

I heard my mother crying. This did not stir me. My mother cries every night. She has been crying every night since I told her that I did not want to be an astronaut, or a doctor, or even a fireman.

My bedroom is the biggest room in the house. It was once my mother’s room. It is her bed that I now sleep in. The pillows still have her indentations. The sheets still contain her smell.

When I am not sleeping I just look up at the ceiling. The ceiling is magical. I have not told my mother about the magic. Blue fades into salmon pink wave after wave until a purple fades into a darkness, a shifting shape filled darkness, a tapestry, an embroidered scene filled with wonder. The sun gives way peacefully to the moon; it is an act of great affability. The surrounding mountains gradually disintegrate until all that is left for the eye to discern are rippling lines scratched into the darkening sky. Trees disappear and black embellishments filled with mendacity supersede. Birds chirp and the monotonous drone of the city below vivifies the wind with untranslatable utterances. For some the sky morphed into the sea, soft, undulating, a sea filled with whales, sharks, and seahorses. For others the infinity of the sky stirred emotions that subsided only with thoughts mundane irrelevance. A violent streak of orange shoots across the mass of black. The orange softly, slowly spreads illuminating unfathomable creatures, breathing, moving.