The Wall in My Grandmother’s Living Room

One of the walls in my grandmother’s living room had protruding plaster bulges. I watched them dance and wondered which concert or country or book they represented in my grandmother’s life. I pictured them grow and shrink with each remembering of a memory as it came up in her breathing and travelling thoughts. What if she picked up that small souvenir violin she bought in Prague and in response, her wall would hum along with the battery-powered toy? What if the wall remembered her life as she did?

I pictured two sweaty painters in tank tops come into her apartment with buckets, starting to throw balls of wet plaster onto the wall. I pictured my grandmother laughing with them and smiling to herself. I thought how lucky the painters were to get paid to throw things at walls and change them and bring them to life. How lucky they were to laugh with my grandmother and cool down in her apartment filled with classical music and air conditioning.

My grandmother’s life has lost its breath, along with its music and memories, so what does her wall remember now? Has it receded into itself to be flat like all the other walls?


Melting Point, Freezing Point

She is stuck between two worlds, in a perpetual transition phase that never seems to end. If only life had a clear-cut schedule of categorical time periods. “Now you are lost. Now you are found. Now you are alone. Now you are okay. Now you are confused. Now you are you.”

But no, the now is the always until it is no longer there. She sees no ends and no finish lines and no distinctions between who she is now and who she will be, until after when she isn’t herself but instead someone new.

She is stuck in a past love that seems to fade slowly, despite her pain and despite the letters. She is stuck in the fading process, a gradient of self-care and self-pity, pixelized so that you cannot see the truth, in case it might hurt.

The elegance of her broken state is blurry and looks more like a photo of moving lights in nighttime than a crystal chandelier; at least that’s all she sees when she looks in the mirror.

She thinks too much and feels too much and falls too much, but her legs were bruised from age 6 anyway. 6.5, to be precise. Something happened then that never got fixed. Something got stolen then and never returned.