Y is for Yellow

Hey! This is my 250th post! How ’bout that?

I hate this wallpaper,” April announced. Really, she hated the house, but the wallpaper was emblematic of the thing whole thing. Old and decaying, crumbling and cracked. Withered. Graying.

Yellowed.

Clark hugged her from behind, wrapped his arms around her, put his hands over his elbows, and locked them tight. “We can change the wallpaper. We can change everything.”

“We could just not buy the house.”

Clark looked wounded. He’d been raised on cartoons, had done stand-up at college open mike nights when others were reading poetry, so he was no stranger to a comical overreaction, but his hurt look didn’t vanish behind his usual goofy grin. “What are you talking about? This place is perfect!”

“It’s old and falling apart.”

“It’s got so much character! Look at this!” Clark pointed at the decoration on the stairway’s handrail, a grotesque thing of dark wood with fangs and fur and wild eyes that would have been more appropriate as a gargoyle on a cathedral than decorating the inside of a house, even if it were a creepy old building. If it were a painting, it would have had that optical illusion that made it look like it was watching you as you moved across the room. Instead, it had its eyes placed on the opposite sides of its head, like a fish. They couldn’t follow you, but no matter where you were in the room, they could see you.

And of course Clark loved it. He’d moved on to the grandfather clock in the entryway, was extolling the virtues of how the place was cheap, it was furnished, it was big enough that their family could grow into it. But she didn’t hear him. She was too focused on the abandoned neighborhood, the crumbling wallpaper that probably hid great colonies of dark mold, the outdated wiring. They looked at the same empty rooms, but he didn’t see the endless work that would have to be done, the inconveniences they would have to live with.

He didn’t see the yellow.

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