Window. Ceiling. Walls. Repeat.

There’s so much detail to them that I’d never truly noticed before this, before they became my prison, grim reminders of all that out there that I cannot see. 

Have you ever noticed what perfectly constructed contraptions windows are? 

I find myself drawn to them more than ever now, not only to open and experience what little I can of the freedom I so deeply crave, but to admire the craftsmanship put into each and every one. Their perfection is tainted slightly, worn over time from repeated usage and nature’s forces. Grout weasels its way into the crevices, staining the edges an earthy brown. The carcasses of insects litter the sides, caked in dust and cobwebs from spiders eager to become tenants, a not-so-subtle hint that the sill is long overdue for a good scrub. It’s an eerie graveyard, a landscape of lost souls just on the edge of my bedroom. 

My ceiling is no less interesting, stains sprinkled across the expanse of it like off-colored stars, a stagnant universe hanging still in time just above my Polaroid’s and Spider-Man posters. There’s a patterned texture where the paint has overlapped itself, rippling like waves across the enamel that has been spread repeatedly over wood and insulation like butter to toast. At the corners, the paint is crusting, hints of the cerulean that once dominated my walls peeking through, eager to escape the banishment of the updated tea-green that now outshines it. I don’t miss that cerulean. It was much too loud, and I’m thankful for the peace that comes with a new coat of paint. 

If my eyes were to trail down further, they would follow along cracks and bumps where the paint has left a mark. In some areas, it’s scratched off completely, compliments of furniture that was carried in just a bit too clumsily. Posters clumsily fit together like mismatched puzzle pieces as I try to find a rhythm that suits them, giving them harmony as they dance along my walls. Time after time I’ve ripped them down, taking flakes of paint along with them, only to set something new up to cover the marks. It’s a never-ending dance of destroy-cover-repeat. 

One day, when this is all over and long forgotten, I’ll forget all that I saw during my time here. I’ll forget the windowsill graveyard and the ceiling galaxies and the rhythm always dancing around me. They’ll go back to what they’ve always been- windows, ceiling, walls.

Stella Paradise is a student at School One in Providence, Rhode Island.

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