Posted Monday, August 14th, 2006
Before the passion struck, when she was still a normal person with normal needs and normal desires, the word ‘linoleum’ was just a string of letters, nothing more. Her heart didn’t race, no beads of sweat broke across her brow. All the word would summon to mind was the childhood memory of a cold surface kissing her soles when she rose from bed on a winter’s morn. Linoleum: the cheap bastion of mid-twentieth century kitsch, of poor interior design. It’s the type of flooring found in the family trailer, or old apartments, or bathrooms she’d rather not use.
And then what, exactly? This passion was not planned. It crept up and pounced, seizing her heart in its fangs and locking its jaws. A moment while glancing through an auction catalogue changed everything forever. She didn’t see it coming. She was only looking for an antique lamp to put in the spare room when a picture, ‘Item 942 Roll of Vintage Linoleum’, caught her eye. Swirls of crimson flowers on a gold background, slightly glossy, covered with a fine craqueleure. “Oh my,” she said, but she almost didn’t recognize her own voice: hushed with reverence, yet slightly tense with excitement, like the first strains of a cello before the orchestra swells.
Some people choose linoleum, but linoleum selected her.
Without thought she bought the roll, and with no place to put it, she stashed it in the attic, where she could gaze at its edges and lust after its design. She began to seek more, and the single roll became a pyramid. The colors were as vibrant as jewels, the patterns as diverse as a Moroccan bazaar. She began to look down at her feet more often, memorizing the patterns that decorate the floors of every building she visited. Once, a security guard caught her taking photographs. The predicament was difficult to explain without looking like a complete lunatic.
“But, LOOK! Just LOOK at this PATTERN!”
Most people don’t even notice. She thought she ought to be sad about that, but in actuality, it gave her great joy. The passion for linoleum is a hidden treasure, easily shared but not readily understood. In an unforeseen moment, the beauty of linoleum had blindsided her, and she understood that there is beauty under the soles of her feet, even on frosty winter mornings.
Comments [post a comment]
Posted by Tai Wolf on Tuesday, August 15th, 2006 at 11:42 PM
Sort of like Hurleigh Burleigh...no?
Posted by Donia Carey on Saturday, September 2nd, 2006 at 10:54 AM
Gorgeous writing. Interesting, the way you took something most people would consider prosaic, and built a world upon it.
"The passion for linoleum is a hidden treasure, easily shared but not readily understood."
Posted by Mr. Zambo on Saturday, September 2nd, 2006 at 10:05 PM
Another great piece of writing!
You have once again taken something that some might consider humdrum and transformed it into something extraordinary (as Donia has already indicated).
Posted by Norma Trent on Monday, October 9th, 2006 at 5:17 PM
You took something ordinary and made it special for me. Sorry if I repeat a previous comment, but it's true! I have an old rug I found in the dump. I feel the same way about this rug as your character. I knew the man I was dating would be someone special when he expressed the same appreciation of my rug, had the rug repaired and then cleaned. He's now my husband! And that rug turned out to be a 19th century wool Oriental rug from China worth a fortune. Who knew!