1901

Louise could hear the murmurs through her bedroom door. It did not faze her. She continued to play with the dolls in her dollhouse. Her dollhouse was a three story with a spiral staircase, two bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room, a bathroom, and a play room. Lace curtains hung on the windows and miniature works of art were framed beside them. Most of the wallpaper was made of gold and all the furniture hand carved. A doll with blonde hair tied in a low pony tail and green eyes that wore a pink blouse with a high collar and a long white skirt was clenched tight in Louise’s hand as she walked up the staircase.

Often times, Louise grew bored of her dollhouse and left her room to investigate her home. She left her doll sitting in a comfy blue chair in the living room of it’s house and stood up to approach the door. As she turned the knob and pushed it open, the murmuring stopped. In front of her door was the hallway. It stretched in two directions: one straight ahead and one to the left. Both hallways had chandeliers hanging on the center that were lit, but not much light seemed to come from them. Tapestries decorated the walls, gorgeous imported runner rugs lined both halls. Portraits of people that looked similar to Louise hung beside the tapestries in carved frames. Louise usually explored the hallway straight ahead, but this time, she decided to learn what was behind the door at the end of the hallway on the left.

Louise stepped out of her room and shut the door behind her as something might assume it had permission to enter her bedroom and touch her toys. She straightened her long white dress and started down the left hall, peering into each room she passed. Most were empty, nothing but black could be seen behind half open doors. A few held dim light and a piece of furniture or a toy in the center. Louise never entered the black rooms, fearing what might really be in there. She once entered a dimly lit room and found that there was nothing but the item. If she picked it up, nothing happened. If she tried to create shadow puppets in the light, nothing happened. Not even a sound could be made if she stomped her black flats with the white bows against the floorboards. Nothing seemed to be able to exist in a room like this.

A bright light could be seen from under the door of the room at the end of the hall. Cautiously, Louise walked up to the door and got down on her knees to peek underneath. None of the doors in the house were shut except for this one. All she could see were different colors, yellow and pink and white, all blending together and moving throughout the air. Louise stood up and quickly opened the door, shutting it behind her. She could see more colors now. Blue and red and green were all twirling around the other colors, flying above her head. Louise laughed and chased the colors as they chased her back.

She soon noticed another door on the other side of the room. It was not attached to a wall, as there were no walls or even a ceiling in this room. Louise approached it, walking around the entire door that could somehow stand on it’s own. She was not sure if it had been there before, but when she turned in the direction she came from, the first door was gone. Maybe she was turned around, she thought, but this could not be as the door she came in from was a white door and this new door was a light pink door. As the colors continued to dance in streams above her head, Louise opened the new door and stepped inside.

The walls had carved images of birds and flowers along the edges and were painted a light shade of pink. Her dollhouse sat at the foot of her bed which had two wooden end tables on either side. A small cup of tea that Louise had forgot to finish drinking sat on one table. Her white sheets with pink flowers were still in a mess from the night before. She straightened her sheets and sat down on the floor to play with her dollhouse. She could hear the murmurs from the other side of her door. It did not faze her.

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Settling Down

I put the key into the ignition and as it clicks into place, anticipation radiates from my 2005 Buick Century. Cars may or may not like driving. This one, and I know this is true, likes the way the breeze moves against its sides as it cuts through it like the sharpest blade in the knife block. Nobody ever stops feeling thrill, not even my car. But it definitely has seen better times, and it slowly but surely is coming to its end. It doesn’t matter. I love driving my car.
The coffee pot on the counter beside the microwave has a two hour automatic shut off. I live with someone who wakes up exactly one hour and fifty nine minutes before me every morning. Three cabinets on the wall above the coffee pot hold nothing but different brands of the same coffee. For some odd reason, we have too many mugs to fit in the cabinet on the far right yet we put them in there anyway. Two mugs sit on top of the microwave and make small vibration sounds as I cook grits that came from a pocket of recycled paper. Sometimes they don’t vibrate, because sometimes the newly installed bar of light nailed to the underneath of the cabinets on the opposite side of the kitchen make strange popping sounds as if it’s settling or melting slightly when the heat from the bagel in the toaster rises. Those times are better. I can just move the toaster. I have nowhere to put the mugs.
I’ve only read 1/3 of the books on the bookshelf in my room but if you’d ask about it I’d say I’ve read them all twice. The closet doors belonging on the frame of the random depth in my room aren’t even there. They lie in the attic where it is too hot for me to bring them down. I never wanted them anyways. I read five articles I haven’t read before about how to find a career or how to chose one or how to make money. Does every college student do that? Am I even a real college student yet? Anyways, I sit in front of my laptop trying to find the answer to a question that never has and never will exist. Nobody can plan your future for you. I think about how I don’t have a defining moment and I don’t know if I should be worried about that. I wake up in this bedroom in the same bed I’ve been sleeping in since grade 3 and I go to work every day. I’ve never been raped or arrested or fired or in love.
Every day, around 5 but sometimes 4 because I work two jobs and one of them gives me more hours, I’m leaving my house. “See you later,” I say to my mother upon leaving and “Hey, dad,” I say to my father upon arriving. She says “drive safe” or “see you later” or “love you” or all three. He always just says “hey, Emmie.” He only comes in the house three times in the afternoon. Once at 5 when he comes home, once between 7 and 7:30 to make dinner, and lastly at 10 to fall asleep on the couch. This is where he is when I come home.
4:57 P.M. is when I step out of car into the heat of summer and walk roughly forty steps to the front door and then another forty to get to the break room where I let out a heavy sigh and punch in at 4:59 P.M.. “Hey, girl!” Most employees say to me. They don’t remember my name. Most don’t want to. Forty steps back to the front of the store. A sheet of paper with times of day written all over. Emily: 5:00-10:30. Break: 7:15-7:30. Register 2.
I follow its orders and log in to Register 2. The first shitty person of the day walks up to me and probably is on the phone and won’t answer my questions or they want another markdown on something that is already marked down or they interrupt me. Same three questions, over and over again, for five hours. “Hi, how are you today?” “Did you find everything okay?” “Would you like to save 10% and apply for our credit card?”
Over and over and over again until we close. The trash gets taken to the back with the security tags I removed from clothing all day. I straighten the shelves whose only purpose is to make people buy things they don’t need. The soda cooler gets filled with drinks. I might help out in a different department. As I take the trash to the back, I’m riding the cart like a child because usually my foot hurts too much to walk or I need something fun. Tanya is on the aisle with the towels and she’s folding the blue ones. We finally go home and I drive down the road, take a right, another right, go straight, take a left, go straight, take a right, take a right, go straight on curved roads, watch out for wild animals trying to cross the road, take a left, take a slight left, take a right, take a left. My dog sniffs my tires. I wash my face and go to bed. I write a bit or read sometimes but most times I go right to bed.
The day comes that I finally quit my job and start doing what I love. Maybe the articles did help. I don’t make a lot of money but I will if I write five novels a month. Two hundred-sixty novels a year. No more settling down. No more normal life. I don’t even care that I’m broke as hell. As long as I am far away from customers and cash registers and that deer in the woods by my house that always stares at me when I come home. I don’t know why but I always felt as though we were alike in some way. Who am I kidding, it’s just a deer. It’s nothing but an animal I almost ran over. I’m too happy and poor now to care. Now I wear a huge puffy coat in December instead of a thin sweater. Both were gifts.