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WALLPAPER 4/9

This wallpaper looks to me as if it understood what a vicious influence it has on me. There is a curious spot where the pattern reminds me of a broken neck and two bulbous eyes staring at me upside down. I notice how it moves. Up and down and sideways they crawl, and those absurd, unblinking eyes are everywhere. There is one place where two sheets don’t match, and the eyes go up and down the line, one a little higher than the other. I never saw so much expression in an inanimate thing before.

I used to lie awake as a child and get more entertainment and fear out of blank walls and plain furniture than most children could find in a toy store. I remember what a kindly wink the knobs of our big, old bureau used to have, and there was one chair that always seemed like a strong friend. I used to feel that if any of the other things looked too fierce I could always hop into that chair and be safe.

The wallpaper, as I mentioned, is torn off in spots, and the floor is scratched and gouged and splintered, the plaster itself is dug out here and there, and this great heavy bed which is all we found in the room, looks as if it had been through a war. The bed is nailed to the floor.

But I don't mind it a bit, only the paper. It has a kind of sub-pattern in a different shade, a particularly irritating one, visible only in certain lights, but not clearly even then. But in the places where it isn't faded and when the sun is at a certain angle, I can see a strange, formless sort of figure, that seems to skulk about behind that conspicuous front design.

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