HOW TO BE HAPPY
he smallest bedroom in this old house is upstairs, tucked away in the back over the kitchen. We think it might have been the maid’s quarters at one time. It’s accessed by the kitchen stairs, separated from the other rooms by the staircase, and by a bathroom with a large, white, claw-foot bathtub. The little bedroom, alas, is no longer a maid’s quarters, but was long ago dubbed "The Peter Rabbit Room" by a girlfriend who came to visit. She loved the old four-poster bed; in it, she felt as though she were sleeping in the treetops, looking out the low windows in the eves; surrounded with pink flowered wallpaper, and the stack of old Beatrix Potter books on the dresser.
love the bathroom next to it. It’s from another time: the sink has the hot and cold water coming out of two different faucets. The tub is rounded at the ends, cast-iron, and deep. On a cold and snowy day, a person can fill the tub, add bubblebath, and sink under the warm water up to her chin. There’s a window at the toes-end of it, so a person can be almost submerged in the bubbles and look out the window and watch the snowflakes spiral off the roof, and blow by the yellow house next door; the only noise she might hear would be the wind off the sea, and the Linden trees creaking in the storm. She can dry her hands on the little towel she hung on the tub edge, and reach for her cold glass of water, see steam coming off her hand; and take a big drink, drinking in the cold that clashes so satisfactorily with the heat from the tub; then pick up the book she got for Christmas, called The Help, and slide down in the water so just her hands are out, with the book. Her eyes roll back in her head from the heaven-ness of it; book, bath, bubbles, these things give her what she likes to call, a Red Letter Day.
nd while she’s doing all of this, the napkins from Christmas dinner, and all the dish towels, are drying on chairs all over the kitchen, and on the wooden rack in the laundry room. It’s almost like she’s doing housework.
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