BEDROOMS

Walking along the stillness of a winter morning sidewalk. Muscles tight, steps small - careful not to slip. We are all at our most pale, our skin is dry and our clothes are heavy. Descending the steps into the station I think the cold wet stairs seem to belong in a prison, it's amazing that people never slip on them and crack their heads open. Early morning rush hour on the train, lucky to get a spot standing in the doorway that only opens at Myrtle Ave, and Bedford Ave. Everybody scowling. It's the first day of February and we all miss our bedrooms.

I'm listening to my headphones loud, hardly aware of the music. We pull into Montrose Ave and a large, young mother enters the train with her son, maybe seven years of age. They are both heavily bundled up. The child tries to move away from his mother and she grabs him hard, scolding him inaudibly below my fortress of noise. She has a piercing near her lip that gives her the look of an overgrown teenager. The child tries again to defy her and she shakes him with greater rage than before, squeezing his shoulders. For a moment I pretend she is his older sister. She is carrying a bag with watercolor looking roses printed on it. Her jacket is a very light plaid, just thin stripes of primary colors crossing each other like a spacious suburban city. I remember my childhood bedroom, which had similar wallpaper. It was my "older-kid" wallpaper, it replaced the scary wallpaper with the toys and dolls all over it.

For 19 years I'd been living out of bedrooms with purely painted walls, no wallpaper. My current bedroom has one wall that is wallpapered, you can call it an 'accent wall.' The rest of my room is white with five and a half Mellow Orange dodecagons, which is the term for a twelve-sided figure. The mother and her son both wore vibrant rubber rain boots. I can only imagine how wise an investment those have proven to be but it's February now and much too late for me.