Paper houses

          I'm standing in a room in my grandmother's house. It's the room I usually sleep in when I visit - my uncle Robert's old bedroom - but it has been changed. The room is now bare of furniture and has been papered in blank, yellowing newsprint. Even the ceiling and the floor have been papered, but only one layer thick. I remember that this room is supposed to be papered in pages from old books and news articles, that I loved to read the walls when I was bored. If I look very closely at the blank walls, I can just about see the old printed text peeking through, and I can remember where certain favorite stories were placed.
          There is a stranger with me - a teenaged boy who I am treating as a slight acquaintance. I had brought him up to the room to show him the stories covering the walls, because he had declared he hated reading and I had promised to show him something that might make him regard reading in a new light. Of course, that plan has been blown to flinders. I'm not too dissapointed, even as I feel slightly foolish. I'm hoping that my grandma is planning to paste fresh articles on the walls, new scraps of history for me to read, but I know that that isn't going to happen, and I'm a little annoyed by that.




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