Occasionally, events in one's life become clearer through the prism of experience, a phrase which simply means that things tend to be clearer as time goes on. For instance, when a person is just born, they usually have no idea what curtains are and spend a great deal of their first months wondering why on earth Mommy and Daddy have hung large pieces of cloth over each window in the nursery. But as the person grows older, the idea of curtains becomes clearer through the prism of experience. The person will learn the word "curtains" and notice that they are actually quite handy for keeping a room dark when it is time to sleep, and for decorating an otherwise boring window area. Eventually, they will entirely accept the idea of curtains of their own, or venetian blinds, and it is all due to the prism of experience.
Well, when I was a kid I used to hide behind the curtains at home at Christmas and I used to try and be Elvis. There was a certain ambience between the curtains and the French windows, there was a certain sound there for a ten year old. That was all the ambience I got at ten years old... I think! And I always wanted to be a certain, a bit similar to that. But I didn't want to sell pizza.
I can't wait until this show gets on the road," he said. "You and me are going to have so much fun, Rose. Picking out curtains, doing each other's hair, telling ghost stories..." The reference to "ghost stories" hit a little closer to home than I was comfortable with. Not that choosing curtains or brushing Christian's hair was much more appealing.
Reading Chip's college orientation materials, Alfred had been struck by the sentence New England winters can be very cold. The curtains he'd bought at Sears were of a plasticized brown-and-pink fabric with a backing of foam rubber. They were heavy and bulky and stiff. "You'll appreciate these on a cold night, " he told Chip. "You'll be surprised how much they cut down drafts." But Chip's freshman roommate was a prep-school product named Roan McCorkle who would soon be leaving thumbprints, in what appeared to be Vaseline, on the fifth-grade photo of Denise. Roan laughed at the curtains and Chip laughed, too. He put them back in the box and stowed the box in the basement of the dorm and let it gather mold there for the next four years. He had nothing against the curtains personally. They were simply curtains and they wanted no more than what any curtains wanted - to hang well, to exclude light to the best of their ability, to be neither too small nor too large for the window that it was their task in life to cover; to be pulled this way in the evening and that way in the morning; to stir in the breezes that came before rain on a summer night; to be much used and little noticed. There were numberless hospitals and retirement homes and budget motels, not just in the Midwest but in the East as well, where these particularly brown rubber-backed curtains could have had a long and useful life. It wasn't their fault that they didn't belong in a dorm room. They'd betrayed no urge to rise above their station; their material and patterning contained not a hint of unseemly social ambition. They were what they were. If anything, when he finally dug them out of the eve of graduation, their virginal pinkish folds turned out to be rather less plasticized and homely and Sears-like than he remembered. They were nowhere near as shameful as he'd thought.
It was not a bed with curtains, but a bed with doors like shutters. This may not seem like a nice way of having a bed, but we would all be glad of the wooden curtains about us at night if we lived in such a cottage, on the side of a hill along which the wind swept like a wild river. Through the cottage it would be streaming all night long. And a poor woman with a cough, or a man who has been out in the cold all day, is very glad of such a place to lie in, and leave the the rest of the house to the wind and the fairies.
The front door slammed and Dad said, 'Aurora, sure you aren't expecting a package?' I leaned back to find him army-crawling under the window in the living room. Like all dads do. 'Already told you no, Rambo.' 'The new mailman is back.' Dad reached up and pulled the curtains closed before standing up and peeking out. 'Won't come to the door.' 'M shot a tranquillizer dart at the last guy.' Mom gave a tired look at M who shrugged unapologetically. 'The fact that there's a new one willing to be on our sidewalk is a miracle. Don't scare him off, Clyde.' Dad tried to block me when I went for the curtains. 'He won't let me sign for your package. Demanded you come out in person.' 'I'll get my tranq gun!' M made for her room. 'Don't you dare!' Mom chased her. I swished back the curtains to get a look at the petrifying postman. 'I find his interest in my teenage daughter creepy, ' Dad grumbled. Oh, he had no idea.
The drab brown front of the house made it look as if it had been built from rusty spare parts. Someone always put lace curtains in the windows of dreary houses, and Nick was unsurprised to see the curtains making their attempts in every window of this place. There was a china garden gnome on the doorstep, wearing a desperate, crazy smile. "It's not so bad," Alan said. "You never take me nice places anymore, baby." said Nick, and was mildly gratified by Alan's ring of laughter, like a living bell that had been caught by surprise when it was struck.
Sarah Rees Brennan
Then she did see it there - just a face, peering through the curtains, hanging in midair like a mask. A head-scarf concealed the hair and the glassy eyes stared inhumanly, but it wasn't a mask, it couldn't be. The skin had been powdered dead-white and two hectic spots of rouge centered on the cheekbones. It wasn't a mask. It was the face of a crazy old woman. Mary started to scream, and then the curtains parted further and a hand appeared, holding a butcher's knife. It was the knife that, a moment later, cut off her scream. And her head.