"Room Temperature" | UVF

“Room Temperature”

“Room Temperature”

“This is a piece of creative nonfiction I wrote for ENG 223 Creative Writing. While this course is required for my Secondary English Education degree, it can be taken as an English elective. The assignment was to write about an ordinary object, something in life that is mundane and overlooked, with a fresh perspective. This metaphor was tons of fun to construct and I hope you’ll enjoy.”

Lifting its navy shell, I turn to neutral black glass. My icy thumb clicks, sparking light and warmth from my iPhone’s home button. A parade waits for me, carefully lined by order of receiving. Listlessly prodding and dragging, my numb digit explores the digital world just on the other side of the room temperature glass.

A green balloon contrasts the red circle, numbered five, that he has been holding. Five for each of the individual thoughts that have been entrusted to this carrier. My finger receives the questions and concerns. Pressed for time, I try to experience the emotions and struggles of the person on the other end, but I send them praying hands and forget to fold my own. I purse my lips as I reply with crying eyes, nauseous faces and furrowed eyebrows. The faithful green bubble delivers my pixelated empathy and immediately my face is as expressionless as the glass it is staring into. Underneath the glass, my phone is hot, it is scorched and soaked through like a home under a fireman’s hose. Protected by the heat-resistant glass, my cold finger is unaffected.

A yellow ghost haunts my phone; she floats about tracking on a map where I am. She tempts with stacks of photographs that I don’t need to see. She plays the home movies of strangers and invites me to watch along. She asks me to record my own day and helps me to disguise my truth by adjusting the colors, supplying a soundtrack or augmenting my facial construction. This ghost is my friend and she radiates cool breezes, soft afternoon sun. But my finger is cold and the glass separating her and I is room temperature.

A white letter trapped in a blue Pandora’s box calls my name. She is weather itself, revealing frigid pictures, warm movies, flaming words. She is a summer’s night, calm and peaceful until the fireworks explode in her sky. Thousands of fingers have collaborated in her grand collection of opinions and life. She claims to be my friend, a liaison between my finger and those across the room. She loves to ask my opinion of others and she invites their thoughts of me. She cannot be given one temperature- she is all and none at the same time. She dances before the room temperature glass and my numb finger tries to follow the steps.

Trapped beneath room temperature glass, a world of color lives. My iPhone’s building blocks are squares of color to represent life itself. These pixels radiate every imaginable temperature and yet, not a single one is felt by the listless finger poking and dragging its frigid presence across the neutral screen.