When John and Mira went looking for a place to live in suburban San Francisco the first thing Mira wanted to check out were the closets. And she would laugh “this is not a closet, not even close!”
Growing up, Mira’s favorite place was the closet in her house. Besides being the place where she changed clothes, it was her hiding place, it was also her safe place as well as her private play space. And all this was possible because the closet was really just a small room with a door that could be locked from the inside.
Her house was large, rather rambling, with interconnected rooms where not just her mother, father and sister ran about unchecked but also an odd visitor or two was known to have been spotted. In contrast to the chaos of the house, the closet was very predictable, where at one glance Mira could tell if all was right with her world.
Mother had converted a small room into the family closet: a multifunction space with a square table where clothes could be stored before ironing and a large steel almirah for jewellery, money and formal wear. It had open shelves lining two walls. There were pegs for hanging clothes and in the middle a small area where one could stand. Clothes for the whole week were stocked for the family in their individual spaces. Every Sunday, dirty laundry disappeared and Mira’s shelf was laded with school uniforms, fresh pajamas, socks, underwear and evening frocks. Every weekday morning after her shower, Mira would run into the closet, change into her school uniform, run out for breakfast and off to school. The process was reversed in the evening- back from school, uniform in the dirty laundry, change into frock and off to play. And then at night into pajamas.
Everyone knew, if the closet door was closed, it meant the person inside wanted privacy (mostly to change clothes) and so they were left alone.
The closet was a place of order and structure in an otherwise independent household. It’s space was how they communicated. A change in its order was significant. There were the little things – if laundry was not cleared there was some friction with the washerwoman; if the almirah door was open- mother and father had an evening out. And then there were the big things. Loud sobbing noises sometimes came from the closet; shouting and bickering when father was on a rampage and even absolute quiet, without any shuffling and swooshing of clothes, portended an ill wind.
And so it was that Mira could never get into the American idea of a bedroom closet: one wall blocked off into a narrow space with sliding doors.
“It’s only enough for clothes John. If something were to happen, how would I know?”
The Prompt: Describe your closet. The Twist: Keep it short (but knock the reader’s socks off)