I Need to Pick
Mom liked to redecorate and renovate. She decked out the main bathroom in blue and put up yellow and blue wallpaper. The dated linoleum floor was replaced with one to match the new décor. The bathtub had always been blue, now the rest of the room was too.
I noticed how the new wallpaper curved in the corner. It didn’t lie flat against the wall; it didn’t meet the wall at the 90-degree angle of the corner. I was transfixed by that bit of wall, by that odd architectural detail — or rather, that slight design mishap. I didn’t think of it as a mistake or as off-putting, I was just interested in it. Interested in it the way you might be interested in watching white clouds pass by on a summer day. Or the way you might feel a little sore and find relief with a nice stretch. It was not an itch I had to scratch because it didn’t bother me. It hypnotized me.
I prodded that strip of wallpaper with my finger. Pushing my index finger against the curvature of the paper, I would apply just enough pressure for a slight indent to appear. I felt it rise against my finger, touching more skin now that it had indented than it could before I pushed its limits. I was always drawn to the curve of corner. Sometimes I would tap it to feel and hear the clack of taut paper.
It was an impulse as natural as taking a drink to quench thirst.
I used a pen next. The kind of ballpoint pen that comes in packs of clear plastic, that are impossible to find when you are rifling through your bag looking for them. I pressed only the very tip of the pen into the wallpaper. It made a slight, barely audible pop as the pen cracked open the wallpaper. I thought it was barely noticeable, so I did it again. And again. And again.
Continuing reading on Ravishly, where this essay is published in full.