Listen

Eh, I'm not really sure what possessed me to pen this brief glimpse into the days of a developing schizophrenic, but whatever. It's another Creative Writing class assignment.

If these walls could talk, they say. People always drop the phrase, flippantly, carelessly. A way of hinting at their own dirty little deeds. Swatches of a secret, juicy and plump, bursting to be told. Hidden knowledge, begging simultaneously to be uncovered and yet remain buried. If these walls could talk, they say. Clicking their tongues against the roofs of their mouths, sideways glances with meaningful sighs. If these walls could talk.

But they do talk sometimes. Reena can hear them. They whisper at night, sharing information amongst themselves. Old friends, confidants. They talk about the people they’ve seen, the colors they’ve worn, the secrets they’ve kept. In the morning they’re tentative, sleepy from the late night gossip of the previous night. They’re at their loudest in the afternoon, wide awake and sociable. In the evening, they’re very cosmopolitan, worldly and pretentious. At midnight they hiss their secrets throughout the house, conspiracy in their voices. These walls do talk, in fact they talk to each other almost every day. Sometimes they even talk to Reena.

Kitchen is her childhood friend. The yellow walls are warm and fun-loving like the last day of school in June. They shine in the sunlight like roller skates and pink bicycle streamers. They tell Reena about new ways to have fun, delicious treats to enjoy. They always take care to let her know when she is looking especially pretty. They gossip about boys, new movies coming out, high-heeled shoes and lip gloss. Best friends forever.

Bathroom is her sworn enemy, a catty bitch. The baby blue walls with their stark bleached tiles are perfect and never fail to let Reena know. The gleaming little mirror is in cahoots with the walls, and agrees with everything they say. “Doesn’t Reena look fat today?” Yes, yes! “Isn’t her hair rather lank and bland?” Yes, yes! These walls are the masters of the backhanded compliment. “Such a nice dress, Reena, but if you lost a bit of weight it would look even nicer.” Ha, ha! When they are feeling particularly cruel, Reena goes to pee in the backyard.

Living Room is her mother. Cream colored walls soother her troubled thoughts, while offering advice and motherly tidbits of information. “Don’t sweat the little things, Reena.” Or “what’s done is done and can’t be undone,” or sometimes just “cry me a river, build yourself a bridge, and then get over it.” The mother in these walls is infinitely more reasonable and aware than the woman who reluctantly raised Reena one motel room at a time until her own premature demise, but it is her mother all the same.

Dining Room is her father. Tan walls with an air of well-read sophistication. These walls easily dominate the evening discussions, with strong opinions on all subjects from pop culture to politics. Their unending wealth of information goes from how to apply for a bank loan to what to do if your car won’t start. Reena loves them because they know everything, but she hates them because they rub it in her face. At times they are as smooth as warm brandy and Reena likes to just listen to them talk, all the while wondering if her own father was anything like this.

Bedroom is her lover. Hunter green walls, rich and sensuous. Fiercely jealous and possessive, they try to keep her in bed all day long. They are at times flattering, terrifying, and irresistibly charming. Mature, yet playful, they encourage Reena to do naughty things with the curtains open. At night they woo her shamelessly, denying her sleep in favor of intimate relations. They make fun of her, comfort her until she lets her guard down, and then make fun of her again. She loves them very much.

Reena cannot remember just how long she’s been able to hear the walls. With so much going on, it’s hard for her to keep track of time. She has noticed that when she ventures beyond them for class or work, it’s becoming increasingly harder to hear anything else. Her peers sometimes have to repeat themselves many times before she is able to understand what they have said. On the extraordinary occasions when she’s had company, it’s all she can do to stay focused on their conversation, without getting caught up in whatever lively discussion the walls are having with each other. Once she laughed aloud at something hilarious that Kitchen said, and her classmate stared at her strangely. The rest of the study session was very awkward.

Reena looks forward to the day when she can finally stay indoors, and spend the rest of her life with her unique friends. If these walls could talk. Well, they do talk, Reena thinks, and all you have to do is know how to listen.

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