It was dark.
“Guys?” I heard from the floor far above me. “Guys, I’m going to start panicking. Call the neighbors!”
Various phone screens flicked on, lighting the little house with blue florescence. Power outage.
Luckily, I live in a house full of girls who have a deep love of candles. (Is it love? Obsession? We’ll never know.)
The dark old house was glowing in no time. It also smelled like Anthropologie, but that’s beside the point.
Thrown back to an electronic-less era of nothing but candlelight and conversation, we found ourselves curled up in the living room, discussing anything and everything at length. Eventually, old-school literature made its way into the conversation.
“Have you read The Yellow Wallpaper?” one English-studying roommate asked. “Oh my goodness, it’s my favorite. It gives me chills. I have it right here.”
“Can we read it?” I asked. “Let’s read it!” The candles flickered mysteriously, the shadows deepened in anticipation.
“I’m going to need alcohol,” one roommate replied.
“I’ll make popcorn!” exclaimed the other.
And so we pulled out a thin, tattered paperback of haunting feminist literature and scared ourselves silly.
For those who haven’t heard of The Yellow Wallpaper, it’s a short story that blurs the line between reality and the psychotic mind as told by an unnamed female protagonist. Written in 1892, it is tinged with unmistakable feminist views and spine-tingling imagery. Told from a first-person perspective, the reader watches their protagonist sink into madness induced and personified by the pattern of a grotesque yellow wallpaper.
We read in a circle around the room, hearkening back to the days of grade school, munching on popcorn and discussing descriptive imagery with genuine enthusiasm.
The popcorn was unexpectedly delicious.
I didn’t expect to enjoy popcorn kissed with butter-flavored canola oil, salt and Truvia, but somehow it fit.
Additionally, if you’re tempted to try it, real butter and real sugar are also completely acceptable. Use them. But when there is a power shortage and no way to melt butter other than over a candle flame… butter-flavored canola spray works just fine.
Of course, we’d discussed so much layered detail by the end of the night it was difficult to blow out all the candles and attempt sleep.
If you find yourself in the midst of a dark and spooky evening, I can only recommend snacks and good friends to chase the shadows away.
Also, if you have any great short stories to recommend, please share! This is looking to be a recurring event in our literature-laden house.