Wednesday, December 28, 2011


The prisoner's sitting on the floor, her ear pressed intently against the wall as I walk onto the second-floor balcony.
"What are you doing?"
"Listening to the wall," she replies, as if it's a perfectly normal thing to do.
She looks up, surprised. "Don't you know? The walls see everything, remember everything."
I lean against the railing and stare at her, wondering what could have possessed the master to think we should let the prisoner roam free through the house. What’s up with our having a prisoner, anyway? No one will tell me.
"And what are the walls saying?"
"They’ve watched for many years," she says seriously, almost wistfully. "When this house was first built, there was happiness here, and lots of people. Then one by one they went out and never came back. I don’t know what happened, but it was terrible. The walls absorbed the sorrow of those few left behind here." The prisoner stands up, running her hand over the wall. She wanders over next to me and places her elbows on the railing with a sigh. "If the house wasn't so big, it wouldn't be so hard to erase the sorrow, replace it with laughter again."
I wonder how she found out. Did the walls really tell her all that?
I've only looked away for a second, but when I glance back she's gone.
Her head pops back up over the railing for a moment. I forgot, she likes to climb around on the stairs, though I can never figure out why.
"There's so much sadness here," she says, "Take care it doesn't swallow you whole."

Not exactly sure what inspired this. I wrote it a long time ago, and I can't remember the circumstances surrounding it.

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