The Wall

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She stared hard at their shared wall and thought how enjoyable it would be to take a bulldozer to the man on the other side. She regretted the day that she decided to move into this crumby apartment on the side of town where the nicest restaurant was a gas station and a dark cloud seemed to cover all of its inhabitants. Only a few more months, then she could save up enough money to live in some place where it didn’t smell like cigarette smoke and despair. So instead, she focused all of her bottled up hatred on the barbarian on the other side of the wall. At night he played a strange mix of folk and jazz music and sang loudly off key to himself. The wall provided no protection, with its holes and vibrations when the heat turned on. Nobody seemed to come to his door except for the pizza delivery man, and then a week after there would be the foul odor of moldy, rotten remnants of the uneaten carbs. He didn’t seem to have a job, and he spent his days watching infomercials on the television in his room. She could just imagine the piles of dirty laundry, empty bottles of beer, and the giant mass of the man sitting in the middle of his own chaotic mess. In her imagination he had a beard that could reach his unclean toes and collect dust, Doritos, and dried saliva. His eyes were probably bloodshot from the nights when he drank too much and sang to himself. She could not think of another person so despicable, so unclean, so DISGUSTING.
He felt as if he would scream if he had to tolerate any more of this woman’s insanity. In the mornings she spent her time practicing tae kwon do and the whole apartment would shake. She attempted to grow plants to cover the holes in our wall, like it did anything. She also owned a countless number of birds that would repeat everything she said, so not only would he hear the nonsense coming out of her mouth once, but twice he would endure. She talked to them as if they were real people and told them about her dreams and aspirations. And every Friday night she calls her mother and cries to her about her woes – like how the laundromat wouldn’t refund her, or how she tripped on her way to work. What kind of bullsh*t is that? If she could understand what it’s like to have real problems, she wouldn’t be such a conceited snob. She hasn’t seen half of the horrors of this world, she can’t appreciate what kind of life she leads. If only she could see the people starving and dying just on the other side of this planet – then she wouldn’t be so concerned with her own petty problems. He would know. Serving for the country, and then being kicked out of any job without explanation - what a messed up world we live in. He stroked the stubble on his face and thought he should shave sometime soon. She probably has French manicured fingers and bleached blond hair, never done a day of work in her life. She probably eats celery and drinks diet coke all day just to conform to society and spends her time thinking up ways to be even thinner. He couldn’t even stand to think about her, let alone attempt to understand the reasons for things she did.
And then one day he decided that he would venture into the unknown – take a risk and go to the laundromat. His clothes were getting a little bit gross anyway. As he locked his door closed, he realized that the monster living next to him was leaving her cave as well. Except, why she didn’t look like what he imagined at all! She was petite, wore horn-rimmed glasses, and carried a large basket of clothes. They made awkward eye contact for a second and he quickly shook his head. They both turned around and started walking to the door. She smiled, and he noticed her teeth were straight and white. “So are you going to Coinwash?”





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