You had to pass through nearly every major room in the house to get to it. Through the foyer, past the living room, into the kitchen and down the stairs to the basement. On the far side of the cellar, just past the laundry and around the corner of the furnace was a door. This door led to the Tahitian room of the Davies’ basement.
I’m not sure of the origin of the space; whether it was part of the original construction of the house, or was added by Jason’s parents. What I do know is a Great Number of Important Events took place there as it evolved over the years.
The room itself was about 10×10. I recall two of the walls as wood paneled, the third covered with inset bookcases, and the fourth was a glorious full-size picture of a tropical beach. Blues skies. Golden sand. Lush palm trees and crystalline water. It was as if you were looking through a window to a magical place.
At first, I believe it was an office. After a while, it was empty and provided a place for us to crash if we had to stay the night. During college, Jason moved his room down there. (That period in the evolution of the chamber will not be covered here, and you should be ashamed of yourself for asking.)
Another magical item within the room was a black sphere with a bunch of little white strips of plastic contained therein. Each white strip has a different word scribed upon it in black. We were never sure of the actual function of the orb, but I remember some amusing conversations starting from drawing words at random from it.
There was a brief period when this room was also the arena for a game called You No Set. The rules were pretty simple: you threw something at your opponent, seats at the far side of the room. If they failed to either block or catch the item (items would range from throw pillows to the three-foot-long plastic tubes used in golf bags to keep the clubs from getting tangled), everyone would bellow “OHHHH YOU NO SET!” at them.
What can I say? It was a simpler time.
The Tahitian Room was our Room of Requirement, the place where we would get together and be silly or talk. It was far enough from the rest of the family for some privacy, but still close enough to raid the fridge or the bar. Another significant place where we grew up, working out the goofiness teenagers produce by the metric ton.
The last thing of note about the room: it is possible it was haunted. Or something. This is the place where we found out that when our good friend and host would get too drunk, he would begin to ask about his seven friends. To this day, I am not sure we know who these seven friends were. We thought that he might be referring to the many pillows on his bed, but this was never substantiated.
When Jason’s parents moved, there was mourning for the room. The Tahitian room still figures in the lore that binds us to one another. Tales are told, if not often, then at least with fondness.
“I’m sailing away set an open course for the virgin sea
I’ve got to be free free to face the life that’s ahead of me
On board I’m the captain
So climb aboard
We’ll search for tomorrow on every shore
And I’ll try, oh Lord I’ll try, to carry on.”
Come Sail Away, Styx