This was our playroom now, shared bedroom too. Those walls that had been mine were ours now, papered in a faded floral, seams and corners peeling, bubbled in some places, cracked. On every wall a stitchery picture: scenes from storyland were also faded. Soiled. No glass. Frames: chipped-off painted wood. Threads pulled in places, evidence of little fingers that can’t keep from touching, pulling—as if doing so could take a body out of this and into that: round wooden door to mouse’s tree-trunk house; white wicket gate set in the background of a garden overgrown with purple blooms; enchanted cottage all but hidden in a forest thicket; green-and-ruby turret window that, despite the ravages of time and all those dirty little fingers, still appeared to be enough to make a castle glow. And in that decorated room that had been mine but now belonged to us, the place in which unpleasantness seemed not just possible but downright inescapable, I told her stories with more stories stacked on top, all set in carefully described locations peopled with the characters I represented and the objects I pretended (on behalf of characters) to see, pick up, and operate.