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My Life is Flat
I'm an old, old part of every house in every country in every century. I hold up the home and the people inside by providing barriers and privacy. My special spot happens to be in the west corner in the house, in the room of my now long gone mistress, and I am opposite my friend, Window. Lovely view of the sunset from where I stand. Of the four walls that create her room, I was lucky enough to be chosen as the Trophy Wall. The Trophy Wall is a revered and envied position, as the place where the master or mistress puts all of his or her old photographs, medals, souvenirs, random embodiments of his or her life. As I said before, I was lucky enough to be chosen by her, to have her memories bestowed on me. And so I begin…
My mistress first came to this home many, many years ago, as an infant. Her furniture arrived, and was placed around the other walls, but not myself. Her mother must have known she would pick me, for she thumb-tacked her baby cards and balloons on me in the top right corner, more and more coming as each day passed, until she reached her first birthday, and then her second, and her third, fourth, fifth… until she got to be 6, going into kindergarten, and she could tack things on her own.
Now the lower corners of my wall were filled with macaroni sculptures, squiggly drawings, stick-figure pictures of family and dog. And so it continued until she was 12.
My mistress was in the fan zone now, of a teen pop star boy band, and glossy posters, ripped magazine pages, and concert tickets littered my surface. Beyond that, there were birthday invitations, birthday cards, movie tickets, pictures with friends, the occasional obligatory trophy. Small things such as all children have.
When she turned 14, more posters of boy bands (the skanky ones), and pictures of cute guys, and more movie tickets, and the occasional flyer for a play she was doing were all pasted on my wall. She was going through a rebellious stage, and my surface has the holes to prove it.
At sixteen, things got better. More and more movie tickets cluttered me, and posters of movie stars and of the red carpet dominated the middle top. Pictures of the boyfriend she's had for a year, and all the many places they'd gone together. Some plane tickets and pamphlets to show where she'd been on vacation with her family-- Venice, Barcelona, Madrid, Toledo, Paris, Amsterdam, New York City, New Jersey, Oregon, Canada, Idaho, Yellowstone, Montana,Texas, Florida, the Caribbean, and Costa RIca to name a few. Pretty Sweet Sixteen party invites, hers and others, occupied a large amount of space. And more flyers from plays she had done. I loved to watch her come home after a performance and hear her singing "Sixteen going on Seventeen" until she fell asleep.
Now she was seventeen, and pamphlets from colleges and universities and numbers of important people to call covered the walls. Last minute get togethers with friends, more movie tickets, more plays. Get well cards from when she was in the hospital. Thank you cards from friends and family. Old wristbands from Wild Waves. And for the first few months, more pictures of the boy she loved. Then the happy photos stopped coming. For awhile, there were no additions to her life's collage. I missed the prick of a bright green thumbtack being slid lovingly into my plaster. My heart ached for her. And then she got the audition.
As you probably have gathered, my mistress was a fan of the movies. This was her life's dream-- to star opposite Brad Pitt, or James Marsden, or somebody. To glide down the red carpet in a three thousand dollar dress by Versace. She had gotten an audition for a new romantic comedy that was rumored to be a sure box office hit. She auditioned, and got the part-- on a condition that she instigated: that she could still go to college. She forgot all about the boy, and focused on her future.
Unfortunately for me, her future dwelled at NYU and Hollywood, not in the old room she'd had since childhood. Her parents were going to move somewhere smaller and rent this house out. They were already packing up her belongings and sending them off the the dorm. I was to be empty again, after so many years of comradeship and memories.
The night before she was to leave for NYU, she came into our room, sat down, and wrote a letter, I know not to whom. Then she sat down on the floor in front of me (there were no chairs, the room was almost empty), and gazed at me. My wall had no space left whatsoever. Picture upon poster upon ticket upon badge upon name tag was layered upon each other. Every single inch was covered in her. Her eyes drifted from memory to memory, occasionally glazing over, occasionally tearing up. She sat there an hour or two (we both had lost track of time). Then she sighed deeply, got up and left the room, coming back with a very large box. Little by little, flakes of her life went into that box, and not many escaped without tear marks. Then I was clean. There was no trace of what we had shared. It seemed eons ago the she had come in this room a week old with her mother. She got a marker and wrote "college" on the box. She took one last look around, box in hand, and left. That was the last I ever saw of her.
7 years later, after my mistress had long been out of college, and various families with mundane tastes had pasted random things on me, a new family came in with a ten year old girl. She was bouncy and sweet, but I had ceased to care after all the families that had cycled through me. They started moving in. My new roommate was tacking things onto me in a circle, as if something were to go in the middle. At last she brought out a large poster and placed it in the middle. It was a poster of my mistress, dressed in a stunning gown by Versace, on the arm of Brad Pitt, on the red carpet. If walls could talk, I would have cried tears of joy.