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WALLPAPER 2/9

The house is a beautiful place. It stands well back from the road, about three miles from a quaint town. It makes me think of New England villages that you read about, with hedges and walls and gates that lock, and lots of separate little houses.

It was reasonably priced, but I think that was because no one maintained it. Our first week would be spent cleaning it up.

There is an overgrown yard with large trees, meandering paths, and grape-covered arbors with seats under them. There were greenhouses, too, but they are broken and not usable.

There was some legal trouble, I heard, something about the heirs and coheirs; anyhow, the place has been empty for years. Such a shame.

There is something strange about the house, I can feel it. Unlike Charlotte, I am a romantic and can easily imagine all kinds of things going on in and around the house when it was a vibrant home. That is part of the joy of being here for me. I even tried to get Charlotte to acknowledge the mysterious atmosphere of the house one evening, but she said all she felt was a drafty hall, and shut the window.

I get frustrated with Charlotte. I think being sensitive is a positive trait. She thinks it is a nervous condition. Everything has to be a condition with her.

But Charlotte says I lack self-control; so I take pains to control myself, when she is around, at least, and that makes me very tired. I’m not like her, I don’t want to be a doctor... or a patient.

I don't like our bedroom particularly. I wanted one downstairs that opened onto the deck that had stained glass insets in the window, and a more masculine feeling wallpaper, but Charlotte said there was only one window and no adjoining bathroom. She was right about that. She usually is.

She is very careful and loving, but sometimes treats me like I am her child instead of her husband.

It seems I have a pill for each hour in the day; she organizes them for me, and I feel like an asshole not to value her care more. She said we came here solely on my account, that I was to have a perfect rest and all the air I could get. She is big on getting air, and while I like air just fine, I can’t revolve my life around it. She insisted that we sleep in the former nursery at the top of the stairs.

It is a big, airy room, nearly the entire top floor, with windows that look all directions, and all the air and sunshine one could want. It was a nursery first and then, I assume, playroom and exercise room. The windows are barred for little children, and there are rings and things in the walls.

It did have an attached bathroom which is critical for modern life, though no outlet to plug my razor into.

The paint and wallpaper look like it was probably a boy’s room. The wallpaper is missing in places all around the head of the bed, about as far as I can reach, and in a great place low on the other side of the room. It was ugly, and Charlotte agreed we should find someone to repaper it.

The wallpaper is dull enough to confuse the eye, but pronounced enough to constantly irritate and provoke study. When you follow the uncertain curves for a little distance they suddenly plunge off at outrageous angles and destroy themselves in unheard of contradictions.

The color is terrible, almost revolting; a smoldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the sunlight. It is a dull yet lurid orange in some places, a sickly sulphur in others.

No wonder the boy hated it! I should hate it myself if I had to live in this room long. I assume the bald spots are the work of little hands.

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