This is the room of the wolfmother wallpaper. My annual trip finds me here, year after year, staring at Romulus and Remus, brushed by Fosse. The scene runs floor to ceiling and wall to wall, much too big for my tastes.
Whoever furnished the room placed no furniture along that wall, you can see every brush stroke. The bed is on the opposite wall, and, late at night, the red neon from the No Vacancy sign glows within the wolfmother’s eyes. She watches me watching her. She watches me when I sleep.
I find no comfort in it.
One year, I asked to be moved to a different room, but they were booked, they said, it couldn’t be done. The conference and all, you see? I reluctantly acknowledged that I did see. Perhaps next year I can be placed in a room with a different mural? Oh, none of the rooms have a mural. We painted all the walls eggshell.
But every year the wolfmother stares, the founders of that once great ancient empire suckle, and I dream the stories that have become my life and my fame.
Each night for seven days, she comes to me, crimson eyes glowing and whispers in my sleeping ears. Seven stories. Tell them true, she says, honor the agreement.
And I do. I must.
The first year, seventeen years ago, I ignored her. I thought it was a dream. Her stories went untold.
Seven people died. Friends, colleagues, family.
All accidents. Seven deaths for seven untold stories.
The second year, I had no choice but to attend the conference. I was given the same room. It was when I asked to be moved. No, it wasn’t ever going to be that simple.
We confronted each other in my dreamscape that first night. Argued and fought. Eventually she showed me the ancient contract. I had to tell her stories as agreed centuries ago by a long forgotten ancestor. I had no choice.
She told me to listen carefully and then spun her tale. The next day I stayed in the room, sat on the floor facing her, and scratched out her story in my little notebook. I held it to her face, angry, asked if it was right. Did I leave anything out? Is this your story? Is this what you want from me?
She didn’t answer.
So it has been, year after year, I tell her stories.
People know my name.
I have been on television.
I have three houses, a new wife and family, movie deals and books being translated into fifty different languages.
I am famous.
I am a tool.
I am a slave to her words.
This is my entry for this week’s Master Class. Shannon from The Squeaky Wheel Blog was last week’s winner and she chose the opening line to Tom Robbin’s book Skinny Legs and All “This is the room of the wolfmother wallpaper.”