Tight Spaces

One night about a week ago, Clay disappeared on me.

With my wife at a meeting, it was just us guys for the evening. I was attempting to work in my office in the finished attic—while our basset hound, Miles, nudged against my leg demanding to be petted—when the silence below forced my nose out of my laptop.

No one would ever refer to Clay as a quiet little bunny. He maintains a steady stream of talking, mixed with squeaks and squawks, pretty much from dawn to midnight. When we go food shopping, I always know where Clay and my wife are, even from three aisles away. As I am typing this I can hear him downstairs watching Shrek in his room, screeching and clapping. A ghostly quiet grabs your attention.

Downstairs I went, checking the little guy’s usual haunts—his room, the upstairs bathroom, our bedroom, the room above the kitchen where we set up a computer so he can listen to his favorite music. (The last few weeks he’s played a steady stream of Andrea Bocelli’s Romanza, Willie Nelson’s 16 Biggest Hits and Johnny Cash’s The Man Comes Around.) No sign of Clay. I headed down to the living room, family room and kitchen. Still no sweet sound of babble.

I knew he had to be in the house somewhere. As I was walking through the room my wife uses as an office to check the downstairs bathroom, something caught my eye. Light was pouring from under the door to a closet on my right. I put my ear to the door, and there was the familiar Clay voice.

It’s a good size closet that was once a bathroom before our time. A towel rack on the inside of the door and yellowing wallpaper remain as evidence. Now, it mostly contains old papers and boxes, and, apparently, one noisy teenager. He sounded OK, so I let him be.

When my wife came home, I told her the story and out came the keyboard Clay uses to communicate.

“What were you doing in the closet?”

“So small. So comfortable,” he typed. (It reminded us of when Clay was four or five and we would find him sitting in an empty toy box like it was a bathtub, the toys scattered on the floor around him.)

The next night, I cleared out the boots and coats, stacked the boxes near the back and threw in some pillows, magazines and Dr. Seuss books. Clay hangs out there regularly. It’s quiet and warm. I’m thinking of moving in a recliner for myself next week.


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  1. #1 by Crystal Posser-Craver on February 22, 2011 - 9:35 am

    That’s great! Mine always ends up under the bed XD

  2. #2 by Kathy Perry on February 22, 2011 - 10:44 am

    Such a great safety net for Clay, and what a wonderful father for letting him have that space for his own!!!

  3. #3 by kim mccafferty on February 22, 2011 - 11:35 am

    Hmmm, I have an underutilized linen closet I’m now regarding in a new light…

  4. #4 by Char Brandl on February 28, 2011 - 10:33 am

    Great idea! We could all use a place like that.

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