White |
by Amanda Frieze


The breeze from outside makes the blinds over the windows clap. They are applauding the life bustling outside this little house. My eyes don’t want to open; I’m still lying on the bed. I shouldn’t have read that book so long into the night after I finished ironing my husband’s clothes and fixing his lunch for today. He likes his sandwiches toasted and sliced diagonally.

I can hear the garbage truck hoisting the cans onto her fingers and clutching them as she lifts and empties them into her stomach. She keeps gorging herself, moaning and grunting as she moves on to her next meal. The cans unload on her without resistance. After they have unloaded, they sit calmly, at peace, and available to accept more trash. The truck will be there next week to free them once again.

I wonder if this is why the truck groans. She is tired, but she has no other purpose in life. She was made to take the static, lesser receptacles’ refuse until she burns out of fuel or crashes.

I sigh and stand up. I stretch and put in another load of laundry—the whites this time. Later I will fold them very nicely. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to read today. I have to pick up the kids and then I think I should scrub the scuff marks out of the floor.


These walls mock me daily. They are so bare, so white, so clean. I hate these walls. I hate the cream-colored carpet that no one walks on with shoes. I hate the white sinks, the white toilet bowls, the bright white lights. I want to pick up a paintbrush and defile this perfect house. I want to dirty the walls yellow, splatter the carpets with blue, muddy the sinks with something other than that horrible Comet cleaner. Just once, I wish you’d leave the dishes unwashed and forget to empty the trash. I wish you’d sit down with me and breathe in something real, unmasked by disinfectant.

But that won’t happen here, with you. I must run from this perfect house to be comfortable in my blemished skin. I must find another place to house my bruised knees, tired eyes, curses, and cries, for they do not match the furniture here. When I escape this perfect prison, I will raise a dirty fist from the comfort of my far-off, dilapidated cabin and order those white walls to collapse into rubble. Then they will never again mock me with their perfect corners, so straight next to my imperfect curves. I will lie on my dirt floor and say, “This is where I belong,” as a dog licks my face and I smile.


White paper is intimidating. It is so clean, so flawless, so blank. When I put my pen to it, I feel that in destroying its purity, I must wield words of great worth to make up for it.

Now I have damaged this perfect paper, and I am glad. It looks better with scrawling handwriting, for at least it has been touched, not left to revel in its own purity and emptiness. Now it bears my mark, even if it is not beautiful calligraphy or words by Wordsworth.

I have touched it, and I don’t touch every piece of white paper. 

Be happy, tainted paper! At least you have the scars to remind you of me, even if I never touch you again.

Amanda Frieze worked as a technical writer and editor in California for eight years until she decided to sell everything and move to London to study for an MA in Creative Writing. She blogs in sudden spurts at thepurplenotebook.com.