Through the Walls

April 30, 2017
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I heard banging on the walls of my sisters room all through the long, sleepless nights. Gritting my teeth, I pressed my ear against the wooden door of my bedroom with such force I felt as if I would fall right through. I could hear his grunts of pleasure, which rang out over the banging noise thundering through our small flat, surely disturbing our neighbors at the ripe hour of 2:30 AM. I heard my sister’s delicate sighs, short, staged, and deliberate.

Crawling under the space where my mattress was suspended off the floor by four iron legs and the dusty carpet beneath it, I pulled out a soft cardboard box containing my crayon collection. Most of the colors stuffed inside were worn down to a blunt stub or broken rudely in half except for three of my favorites, which I worked diligently to keep it top condition. I held the waxy figures gingerly between my fingers; selecting the one labeled outer space I began drawing all over the yellow walls, knowing it’d be a wasted energy if I were to try to sleep now. I let the smoky color explode from my fingertips as I dragged it across my plastered canvas, creating long, lazy waves like mountains. Beneath them I drew a large expanse of ocean, above them I speckled the wall with puffy clouds and flying birds. When I was done I distanced myself from my masterpiece, smiling in satisfaction at the beautiful scene fashioned out nothing but ugly, yellow walls.

The grunts turned to snarls, and then there was yelling. I heard my sisters voice quiet and careful, “Cameron…please.” His shouts grew louder, his voice bogged down and raspy from years of dirty, cigarette smoke. He began to sing, a dark, haunting melody, drunk on booze, and on my sister, and on his arrogance.

Gripping the crayon in a tight fist I pressed its waxy tip to the walls smearing dense, black marks across its surface. The shouting seemed to seep through the thin, cracked plaster as I absentmindedly scribbled all over my beautiful drawing in thick, dark lines. I heard a crisp, punctuated noise cut through his hollering, followed by a sharp cry and stifled tears.

My scribbles grew more violent, occurring in bursts of sporadic and distracted intervals. My wall was beginning to look like a black hole of tangled string but it was chaos of my own creation and that brought me strange comfort. I heard her scream, muffled and barren but she had made me promise never to go in her room and I was accustomed, bred even, to do what I was told. I sank to my floor, wincing in pain. I stuck my fingers in my ears, willing for the shrill busy noise to release me.

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