They would tell you about a woman that is struggling to exist. As if just existing is the ultimate goal and not just a passing phase. The walls would tell you that this woman is valiantly struggling with herself to put forth the effort needed to get up each day and make it through till nightfall, when she might find some respite from the nightmares that haunt her waking hours.
Even though the respite she so desperately needs doesn’t always find her. These walls would tell you about a woman whose lack of sleep makes her think time is a constraint in which she’ll never have the upper hand.
If these walls could talk, they might tell you they were relieved to see this woman re-appear 4 weeks ago after so much time away. They were beginning to wonder if she would ever make it back home, although they were shocked and dismayed to see her come back a shell of her former self and empty-handed, to boot.
Of course, 4 weeks doesn’t seem that long and yet, the walls, they would tell you otherwise. Even though they see what everyone else sees, a woman who looks held together, a woman who cooks and cares for the ones left behind.
These walls, they know differently.
They know that these past 4 weeks seem like an eternity to this woman. An eternity’s worth of tears have certainly poured forth from this woman. Each and every night when no one else is around to see her break, her tears make even these old walls reel with despair.
These walls, they know that it’s felt like more than an eternity since this woman has held her infant son in her arms. Several eternities, in fact, since she has felt the unruly weight of the pudgy babe pressed against her flesh.
It’s such a simple task, isn’t it? Holding a baby. People around the world undertake this chore every hour of every day. The walls know that this woman is ashamed to think she took for granted the joy and wonder of holding her son. That it sometimes felt tiresome and inconvenient, to juggle the babe while caring for the others. The walls, they know that this woman judges herself harshly for her perceived failures.
If these walls could talk, they would tell you about a woman that sometimes loses her cool with the ones left behind. That there are days when she feels irritable and argumentative, more often than not, without provocation. That she yells at the ones left behind because they demand so much of her and yet she feels so small and unworthy when they wrap their arms around her neck and squeeze with every fiber of their being.
Whispering “I Love You, Mommy.” into her neck as tears stream down her face.
If these walls could talk, they would tell you that tears are more common than sneezes and sometimes it’s the smallest things that set off the biggest crying jags. That finding the faded ultrasound photo with it’s grainy image of a foot, made the woman want to rip it to shreds as if to say it never happened, that foot never existed.
Of course, the walls know she hasn’t crossed that line of crazy yet, and they watched solemnly as she folded the paper and tucked it into the box of keepsakes. A box that should feel lucky, nestled amongst the ever dwindling number of boxes.
You know these walls, they would gossip like a school-girl about this woman and her new-found obsession with throwing things away, if only they could utter the first word. These walls have been home to this woman for almost 7 years and they’ve witnessed many things, but this, this purging is a new phenomenon.
This behavior worries the walls.
Here is this woman, discarding items that once held reverence in her heart. Items she once felt she couldn’t do without are now finding their way to the trash. Maybe the walls feel threatened by her new-found animosity towards material things. Maybe the walls are saddened that the things they’ve been gazing at for 7 years are disappearing, as if material things could mean anything to these old walls.
If these walls could talk, they would tell you the secrets this woman confides in them, the tales of long nights spent distanced from these very walls. Of people and procedures, in such minute detail, it’s as if she’s living it for the first time, not the umpteenth. Not all these stories are sad and sometimes the walls see a small smile from the woman as she remembers something she thought long-forgotten.
But these walls can’t talk and for that the woman is grateful. Sometimes she feels like she’s on a strict time-schedule to ‘get on with it’. That she’s required to tuck it all away and ignore the never-ending pain and sorrow. The walls know that she is not ready for this, that the memories are her last link to the babe. The pain and sorrow made tangible by her grief-ladened love.
No, the woman is glad these old walls can’t talk. They are her confidantes, old friends she can pour her soul into without judgement or repercussions. Moreover, they are her salvation from the madness of grief and sorrow.
No, the woman is most certainly glad that these old walls can’t talk.
This post was written using a prompt from Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writing Prompts She offers weekly prompts and a prompt generator on her blog. I chose “If these walls could talk” from the prompt generator.