Art by Melissa Mead
Y is for Yellow
by Tim Pratt, Jenn Reese, Heather Shaw, Greg van Eekhout
The room is really quite pleasant, with a neat and solid floor and a window that commands a view of the grounds. When we got here, the lawns shimmered, dark green in the sun. But John had the gardeners kill the grass with acids and salt, and now the yards are bare yellow.
It is all for a purpose, John assures me, in his comforting physician's lilt--the grass, the little gate at the top of the stairs, the locks, the bars on the windows. I am getting better, and we shall remain in the rented house for only a few weeks more until I have recovered from my spells of melancholia and nervous apprehension. The patient must be patient, John says, speaking not just as my physician, but as my husband.
And so I shall be patient. But how I long to see something green.
All is yellow in the house. Yellow wallpaper, yellow floor, yellow boards over the doors. The nurse wears yellow cotton. John wears a once-white suit, now dyed yellow. If it weren't for his face, burned red from the sun, I would liken him to a giant canary.
When I am well, I will see green again. I will see grass and fields, and the groves and orchards of a home I can't quite remember. I have been ill for a long time. And I have been in this yellow house, it seems, forever. I dream of escape.
But of course this is irrational. A product of my hysteria. The world beyond is so dangerous when one's nerves have grown as incandescent as mine. And that is why John keeps me in the yellow house. It is for my protection and convalescence.
I twist the wedding ring on my finger. It is a band of yellow gold.