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The Lady In the Next Room

There’s a lady in the next room

She listens to drama on the AM radio

A routine is what she does

from chores to taking afternoon naps

A kid then I was

alone again watching cartoons, having a snack

From the living room, I could hear

the lady in the next room humming so dear

I walk in, and there I would find

an iron board and the lady standing behind

She greets me with a smile

Alone no more, so I stay a while

She tells me stories

I now can’t recall

But as a child, I would believe them all

She talks a lot

happy to have company

little did she know

I would sneak out to watch more TV

From the living room, I could still hear

the lady in the next room talking with no fear

I go back inside, holding in my giggles

“I left for almost 30 minutes

didn’t you notice me depart little by little?”

But unlike most grown-ups, she wouldn’t snap

She would think it also funny

so we both share a laugh

She’s not my nanny. She’s more than that

She’s real family, lending a hand

She’s my mom; she’s my dad

when the real ones are busy

going after motives they both had separately

A kid may feel lonely, alone with his toys

No brothers, no sisters to share his little joys

But a few steps away was the lady in the next room

Only two people, but it felt like a family reunion

Where no parents compare their kids’ evolution

Our party was better for the lady would say

I could be and should be whatever I wanted to be for that day

Age was then a concept I was unfamiliar

Before I knew it, the lady was gone, fallen like a pillar

Now, as an adult, forms of loneliness haunt me

The room is big and small at the same time

And four dark walls always surround me

But I close my eyes and think of that living room

Where once again, a kid I am

With the lady in the next room

The lady may be gone, but I am hopeful

For she has left me with something that I should not be doubtful

Though the rooms may look different

And changes more frequent

But there will always be the next room

Where someone is waiting for me to bloom

To make me feel that I am not alone

To tell me that it’s okay to be sad even when I’m grown

So let this be a reminder

To people who have spent their lives in deep ponder

It may be easier to surrender

But there will always be someone who wants you to reconsider

For a moment, sit in your room quietly

And think deeply of who that person maybe

Now go to that next room and knock on the door gently

That person has been there waiting for you patiently

Don’t be afraid to open up

To curse, to cry, and to let it all out

Life is a journey, and it should be shared

With people, who all along, truly cared

Healing isn’t instant; it will take time

One foot in front of the other, soon you’ll be fine

When the moment comes, remember to look back

When your cries were another person’s soundtrack

Then I hope you’ll realize

You are not the only one who agonize

Be the light and guide one home

Like what she did to me,

The lady in the next room

© 2021 Benjamin Labajo

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