Today’s post is a little different from my usual. Once again I’ve traveled into the world of fiction. I hope you enjoy!
Inspired by Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper.”
Today is the first time I’m allowed in the patient lounge. The windows around the room cast grey light within, as menacing clouds have scared away the blue sky. The walls are grey. The carpet is grey. My cotton bathrobe is grey. My skin has turned grey. The wheelchair I am forced to sit in is grey. The other men and women scattered around the room mumbling to themselves, playing checkers alone and staring at the black TV screen, are all grey.
The only things that have retained their natural color are my hair, which refuses to submit and become any other color than that of coal; my eyes, which still contain clear pools of blue; and the woman in the stained glass window, which I have asked to sit in front of.
I have decided to name this woman in the window, Amelia. I think it is the only name lovely enough to match her elegance. Her dark, deep navy hair is pulled gently into a bun on the back of her head. I bet if she let it flow freely, it’d be just as long as mine. But I like how she has combed it effortlessly away from her face. It let’s me know that she doesn’t have to hide behind a waterfall of hair. Unlike me, she is brave. I know that one day, I want that.
Her light blue gown flows neatly against her thin frame, gathering at her feet on the green grass. It is simple, and covers her arms and chest. She must be very reserved. My mother would have been happy if I had dressed like Amelia when I was growing up. The fabric rests on Amelia’s shoulders with ease and I know that one day, I want that.
A yellow trail lies beside Amelia and I know she has traveled very far to get here. It reminds me of the yellow brick road from The Wizard of Oz and I imagine that if I could just get to Oz now, my spirits would surely be lifted. I wonder where Amelia came from and why in the hell she stopped here. This is no place for someone so lovely and graceful. The only things here are ugly, lifeless, and in pain. It looks like the path was built with fish-shaped bricks, giving the illusion that it is moving away from here and I know that one day, I want that.
But Amelia remains still, reaching for a perfectly round red berry on the ground, so ripe it looks as though it may burst. I wish Amelia would get back on her yellow path and follow it as far away from here as possible. I urge her. I beg her. I plead with her.
My thoughts are suddenly interrupted when I hear “Wendy, dear? Quiet down; it’s time for your medication.” I watch my left hand–identified by the scars that trace it–surrender, and close around a small paper cup while my right–identified by a glamorous, itchy, and irritating plastic bracelet–clutches onto a larger one full of water. The nurse’s footsteps shuffle away slowly. Glancing into the small cup, I see my usual pills of all colors and sizes. It’s comforting to see they have yet to turn grey.
Unexpectedly, the pools in my eyes begin to overflow and a tide pushes forth over my eyelids and down my cheeks. I peer up at Amelia through cascades of black hair, squinting to see her as rivers blur my vision. I notice that she too has water streaming down her face as the storm has finally set in motion. Looking closer, I see streaks that stain her light blue dress, revealing that the painter used too much water when designing it. It is as if you can see right through her and I immediately know, I do not want that. The tears are coming faster now. She is still frozen, refusing to get back on the path and away from here and I immediately know, I do not want that. The tears are coming harder now. Then, I notice tears pour forth from Amelia’s eyes, leaving them colorless and I quickly realize this will be my fate if I continue to let my blue pools overflow.
Fighting hysteria, I try to slow the current. I squeeze my eyes together as hard as I can. I bite my lips till the taste of iron rushes into my mouth. But nothing works. The pools are releasing themselves and I know that soon, I will have colorless eyes like Amelia. I will be blind, just like her and I will become complacent, just like her and I will never escape. Just like her. I scream. I scream.