I walked into her living room and, well, let’s just say Thank God I was behind her; the corners of my mouth turned down before I could stop them, and I’d have been ashamed if she’d seen my reaction.
She hadn’t been expecting me, yet the room was still pristine: not a cushion out of place, not a half empty glass in sight. Like nobody even used the space. There were no tattered take-out menus on the coffee table, no drink rings, no People, or Us, or fashion magazines splayed open on the couch. Just a perfectly arranged room with perfect matching tables built by her perfect husband.
The colors they chose – charcoal sofa, tan “statement” walls, and pillows and candles of turquoise – made me feel cold and desolate. The carpet and the walls they didn’t paint were a dull beige, and no amount of cleanliness or tasteful decorating could hide the fact that this place was a rental.
I walked into the living room and my mouth popped open. I clapped my hands, “It’s beautiful, Annie!” Unlike their previous homes, where they managed charming rooms despite mismatched furniture and higglety-pigglety color schemes, Annie and Joe had zinged it this time. The furniture matched, they worked within a set palette, and as a result the room was both sophisticated and charming.
The coffee table, smooth and warm and hand built by Joe, was clear of papers and cups and magazine. Round glass lamps on each end table gleamed aquamarine, like sea glass, and on the coffee table were two turquoise pillar candles on simple iron pedestals. The turquoise was refreshing against the clean lines of a charcoal sofa and sand walls, and the room reminded me of vacation. It reminded me of watching thunderheads roll in over the Gulf of Mexico, their underbellies a leaden grey against the sun-whitened beach and the aqua waves that washed over it. I smiled and sank into the storm cloud cushions, thrilled to hang out in my friend’s new home.
These are fictitious pieces intending to describe the same room from the perspectives of a depressed person and a happy person. This was a craft-work exercise from Priscilla Long’s The Writer’s Portable Mentor (five minutes on each perspective), and it is my entry for the Weekly Writing Challenge: Leave Your Shoes at the Door.