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My Blue Wall
My wall is blue. My wall is sturdy. My wall knows all my secrets.
It started when Mamma lost her job. She told me to pack my things; we were moving to a new place, a better place. Three towns over, we got a little flat above a book store. It only had one bedroom, so Mamma slept on the couch.
My room had three white walls and one blue. I didn’t like the blue wall. It reminded me of storm clouds; large, ominous, and looming. I complained to Mamma for weeks. “Can’t we paint it?”
“What about wallpaper?”
So the blue wall stayed.
Things were going well in the little flat above the book store. Mamma worked at the cashier by day, and bartended by night. We were making a living, and everything was going good.
I came home from my first day at my new school, crying. Cyndi Belle made fun of my hair.
Mamma wasn’t home that morning, so I had to get ready by myself. I sat in my room with my big blue wall and tried to braid my hair, except it turned into a big knot. I took my new scissors out of my pencil case and cut off a good two inches.
Mamma was home that afternoon and she saw my hair. I knew she’d be mad, and I didn’t want to make her mad, so I told her a boy in my class chopped it off.
Only my blue wall knows what really happened to my hair.
Mamma kept working hard at the bar every night. Sometimes she’d come home real late with her dress all ruffled and a man on her arm. That’s when she’d come into my room, wake me gently and ask me to please sleep out on the couch just for one night and she promised to make it up to me. So I’d grab teddy and my blanket and sleep on the couch, while that strange man follows Mamma into my room.
Only my blue wall knows what went on in there.
Middle school came. Mamma worked double shifts to make enough money to take me shopping for new clothes. I picked out a pair of jeans with pink rhinestones on the pockets. They were thirty-two dollars, but Mamma got them for me anyway.
I came home from my first day of middle school angry at Mamma. Cyndi Belle made fun of my new jeans. Why did Mamma let me buy those stupid jeans?
I ripped all the rhinestones off. I cut up the jeans and washed them twelve times until they looked like Cyndi’s.
Mamma came home and asked what happened to my new, thirty-two dollar jeans. I told her the drier was broken and tore holes in all my new clothes, and I needed new ones real bad.
She believed me and worked extra, extra shifts to get a new drier and buy me new clothes.
Only my blue wall knows I’m a liar.
High school began. I came home with my friends one day after failing my history test. Mamma had a bottle of Gray Goose in the liquor cabinet. We each took a shot for every test we failed since September. The bottle was empty when Mamma got home. She was angry and threw the bottle on the floor. She made me pick up the shards of glass.
I picked them up and threw them out. Mamma wasn’t done with me yet. She woke me up that morning with pots and pans, asking me how much I liked having a hangover. I didn’t like it much at all.
Later that night, when Mamma was asleep, I took twenty dollars out of her purse. I paid a guy outside the liquor store to buy me some cheap whisky.
I walked home, went to my room, and drank.
Only my blue wall knows I’m a bad daughter.
Mamma was working even later than usual one night. I invited Robby Mandare over. We watched a horror movie and I pretended to be scared so he would put his arm around me. He did and I kissed him hard; then we stood up and walked to my bedroom.
Except this time Robby Mandare knew too and word got around.
I grabbed a bottle of scotch from the liquor cabinet and drank some more. Then I grabbed Mamma’s sleeping pills and took some of those. I leaned against the blue wall and waited.
Only my blue wall knows why.