The second wife wanted to redecorate. “What colors would you like?” she asked her daughter and me. “Purple and black,” said N.
“Yellow. Or cream. Gold. And white,” I said.
I got everything I wanted. N. didn’t get black. Instead, she got pale blue walls, curtains with blue birds, and fire engine red carpet. I rolled my eyes watching my father put that red carpet in. Of course, she hated my gold carpet, too.
I had a corner bedroom and got more sunlight than N., and I loved the pale yellow curtains with a sun painted on them. I liked the brightness of the white walls. It had been my room all my eleven years.
“You’re going to switch rooms,” my step-mother said.
N. argued. N. knew how to scream and throw things. She knew what to say to get the worst but most satisfying punishment. Maybe if I’d had screamed and argued with her, we’d have won. But my dad said, “Be nice. She’s had a hard life, and you’re so lucky to have these things.” I avoided N., and went and moved all my very nice things.
I stayed in that room with the red carpet for several months–until the next time the second wife left us. She came back again, of course, this time with another daughter… well, that’s another story.
When I got to move my things back into my room, I begged my dad to let me tear the yellow curtains down. It took five years for him to agree to spend the money on something new.
So, where are your characters? What rooms do they inhabit? Do the colors reflect who they are or who they aren’t? Do they fit? Do they prefer red carpet or gold? Or perhaps wood floors? Are they in the setting of their choice or did someone push them in there?
What setting do you go back to again and again in your fiction? Does it say more about your characters or you?