Walls Of Orange

September 1, 2008
By Deborah Brown, Hillsdale, NJ

"I f***ing hate orange."

She stared at the white walls. She had just ripped off her old wallpaper; she was thinking orange.

The orange that gave you a headache.

She kept the blinds closed even though it was two in the afternoon and perfectly sunny. The artificial light was on her, making her appear yellow and illuminating her veins.

Her boyfriend hated orange.

Her mom welled up when she covered the abstract, water colored, flowered wallpaper. Her soft delicate voice crying, "I don't get why you just have to cover up your childhood; and after sixteen years of it." For some reason she had an attachment to the hideous, juvenile wallpaper, along with everything else. Her mother didn't just hate change; she avoided it at all costs. She stumbled through the house where nothing has been changed since they'd moved in; comforted by the fact that everything was exactly where she thought it should be. Her mother noticed if a picture frame was out of place, but couldn't pick up on changes in people. Like when her boyfriend didn't politely open her bedroom door anymore, or when he grabbed her hand to drag her upstairs. Her mother was encouraging some "alone time" completely oblivious to what that meant to him.

She picked up the paint roller. She painted with the brush, crying. This was the wall. The one with two windows. She saw him leaning against it, not moving his hands. She heard Tye's voice resonate inside her:

It's no big deal.

It's been seven months, just come on already.

We're sooooo good together.

They weren't. Her tears blurred her vision. A wall was complete.

Baby, you're being ridiculous.

Baby, sweetie, you know I love you.

He didn't.

She sat on her stained, white carpet staring at the wall, the orange wall, wondering when he became a monster. She knew there must have been a reason she started dating him in the first place. She couldn't place it now, but she had a feeling it was the combination of his looks, money, and that smirk that said he saw you. He didn't look at her like that anymore.

Facing the orange wall, she picked up her phone and dialed her boyfriend's number.


When she spoke to him she always said "hi" timidly, like it was something that would make him snap. Tye wasn't sure when she started saying it like that, or even if she always has. But after seven months, it was a pet peeve.

"Hey baby, what's up?" His customary opener.

"Tye come on, we're in the middle of something, "baby" can wait." Spencer was the self-promoting, self-proclaimed, lifelong bachelor. He was Tye's best friend. They were starting fights since pre-school. Tye barely told him about life now. But Spencer knew their relationship. That kind that can barely be considered a relationship. He always yells at Ty to get out, he wasn't getting any anyway.

"Hold on," Tye said into the phone.

"Mmhm" she answered simply. He couldnt place why, but Tye's mouth tasted like salt water when she said it. Kind of like tears. Tye walked away from the outside of the CVS, the CVS with graffiti along the outside wall and a permanent smell of smoke on the windows of the store. He left the guys to their loitering.

"So, what's up?"

"I don't know," but she knew.

In his opinion the conversation lasted way longer than necessary. And all he got out of it was orange.


She knew it was in no way a good conversation. It never was. But it wasn't a fight. So there was that.

Talking to him was always a bad idea. But who else was there to talk to? She pictured him sitting on the sidewalk looking up some girl's skirt as she blows cigarette smoke. He talked to her absently, "yeah-ing" the parts of her monologue that he shouldn't approve of or ones that needed more of a response then a mere "yeah". He simply became horrible at pretending he was listening.


"My god, what was she doing? Spilling her life story?" Spencer screamed too loud as Tye came back from around the corner.

"I already know her life story."

Spencer gave him a steady look, chuckled, and moved on. They're relationship was pushed to the side and soon forgotten. He'd try again later.


The doorbell seemed to sing "come on baby, what's the difference?" The orange had dried on all four walls of her tiny bedroom. The tainted childhood toys were packed away, nothing left but the minimal necessities, and a pile of crap on her bed. She walked out of her room to get the door.

He was leaning against one of the pillars on her porch, waiting to be let in, knowing it was going to happen. He wasn't even thinking that this might be the time she'd say no, ask him to leave.

"Hey baby." His smile gave her goosebumps. Not the good kind.

She let him into her house; he stepped on the red mat covering the wood paneled floor. He didn't wipe his shoes.

"What, I don't get a kiss?" He walked in front of her, grabbing her hand and dragged her behind. It was her house.

There was no need for an answer. She stopped imagining herself saying what she always wished she could say. She never said it.

They walked through the kitchen. She had left her half finished bowl of applejacks on the tiny kitchen table. The green ones were the only ones left.

He saw the bowl but didn't say anything. She heard him call her "freak" anyway.

They reached her room.

Tye walked right in, she trailed behind, "Oh my god. What did you do?" He pushed the stuff off her bed.

It was orange.

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