by Jake Christie

a story.

“This wall is going to want to come down,” says the decorator, indicating the wall between our living room and our bedroom with a wide circular motion, like he's waxing the hood of a car. My wife nods, a hand on her hip.

“I've been thinking that,” she says. “I've been thinking that exact same thing.”

You have not, I think at her. If you've been thinking that, you wouldn't have hired a decorator to tell you that, I think at her. I wonder how much it's costing us for him to tell us things she already knows. Does she feel the need to impress him?

“Let's not be too drastic,” I say. They both turn to me like they've just realized I'm here. “Tearing down a wall isn't like putting up some new shelves. It's expensive.”

“Yes, well,” says the decorator, running a hand over the floral wallpaper, “desperate times call for desperate measures.” My wife nods, knowingly. He looks at his hand and wipes it on the front of his pants with an expression not unlike disgust on his face.

“What happens after we knock down the wall?” asks my wife.

The decorator begins talking about potential and energy and flow and I zone him out. My wife is transfixed, practically drooling. I wonder what this decorator has that I don't have, and if it's the same thing that makes him want to knock down walls when I think the house looks fine just the way it is.

I place my own hand on the wall and let it linger there. The flowers are blue and pink and green, and from far away it's painfully obvious that they're a pattern, six flowers by six flowers over and over, the same thirty-six flowers up and down the wall. But up close they're a small beautiful bouquet, the pink flower with the six petals and the blue flower that's canted just slightly with the four. Somebody created each of them, or at least thirty-six of them, and they took their time. And that has to mean something, right?

“You won't even need to peel the wallpaper,” I hear the decorator say. “Just tear the whole thing down.”

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