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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Austin, Texas

    New short story!

    Hi guys! I'm back (not that I was ever really active here, sorry about that) and looking for a little feedback on a new idea I had about a story from the perspective of a bedroom wall. It's a little (a lot?) gimmicky, I know, but I thought I'd leave it here and see if people think it's too out there. I've written more than I've put here, and I think it will end sadly (idk if that's relevant).


    I heard it said only twice. Once in anger.
    "If these walls could talk," the man snarled, then stopped, running a hand angrily through his hair. This movement was a tick of his; he ruffled his hair often, and with aggression. He didn't finish his sentence, because the phrase isn't meant to have a second part; it's a hypothetical without any real bite.

    "Oh, what?" the woman said. Her face was pinched and pale. "Afraid they'd tell everyone what an asshole you are?"

    "You're unbelievable, Rachel. Really, you are. I can't even finish a ****ing sentence around here."

    The woman – her name was Rachel, now that I think about it – made a small sound of disgust, and didn't reply.

    "Oh, so now you have nothing to say," the man said loudly. "Jesus." I think his name was James, but I'm not sure. I don't remember much about that couple, other than the time James called me by my own name. Names have never mattered very much to me.

    The other time it was said in a kind of laughing way.
    "If these walls could talk," she said, and her name was Sophia. I remember Sophia, of course – she's one of the first things I remember. When she said it, she was lying naked in bed with Jim. They were both faintly sweaty, even though a window was open in the room.

    Jim smiled in that charming way and took his glasses from the beside table, pushing them up the bridge of his nose.

    "Mm?" He nuzzled at her shoulder. "What would they say?"

    "Well, I'm sure they'd be scandalized," Sophia said, grinning a little.

    "Hm," Jim murmured, and dragged a thumb across her lips. "Let's give them something to gossip about, then, huh?"

    Sophia shrieked and then laughed; I always loved it when she laughed that way, too loud and too brightly. She wasn't careful about anything. I realized that the first time she hammered a nail into my drywall and then had to make three more holes before she found my center and hung her painting. Jim pretended to be dismayed about the extra holes, but he never patched them; I think he secretly fed off her recklessness.
    I never saw the painting until someone took it off the hook years later and rested it briefly against the wall opposite me. It was a landscape, one I like to think was nearby. The only landscape I could ever see was the one right outside the window.

    I tried not to watch while Jim and Sophia attempted to scandalize me. They made it difficult not to, though – the bed was right across from me, and there was nothing much else in the room to look at. The painting itched and tugged; infinitesimal bits flaked to the ground. That's usually what I focused on, when something else was going on in the room that I wasn't supposed to see. Being a bedroom wall is all about discretion.

    Jim and Sophia were my first family. They bought the house new in 1966 – that's what the calendar on Sophia's desk said. I was crisp and white, and they were young together. We were a good fit, even though I never had much to offer them besides the quiet absorption of their secrets, of which they had many.

    Like the time Sophia said, "I hate your mother," and I saw Jim's eyes cloud for the first time.

    Or when Jim said, "Goddammit, Sophia, if you could just give me a moment to–" And he left the room before I could hear the end of his sentence. Jim's annoyance was always still but intense, and Sophia came back into the room a few moments later to dissolve into messy tears.

    Jim came back less than half an hour later, lines on his forehead.
    "Sophia, baby, I'm sorry. Come here."

    I watched them curl around each other on the bed and make more secrets. They always reconciled dangerously, whispering promises they had no business making.

    "Jim," Sophia said once, "I think that our souls are connected." She said this very seriously, standing in front of the mirror contemplating her body. She was very beautiful – dark hair and huge brown eyes. I always thought she must be Italian.
    Jim, lying on the bed, looked up from his book and considered her. "You could be right," he said, quite serious. "But why do you think so?" He nudged his glasses up from there they had slipped down his nose.

    Frowning, she joined him on the bed. That was how I saw them most of the time, sprawled and languid. "I feel your vibrations." There was a little crease between her eyebrows when she said it, as if she expected these vibrations to shake her now. "I feel your energy."

    Jim smiled at her, and I couldn't tell if the amused expression on his face was patronizing or introspective. "What does it feel like?" he asked her, and seemed to be memorizing her face – the little crease, the gleam in her eyes.

    "It feels like forever," she said earnestly, and Jim burst into laughter.
    Sophia hit him with a pillow, but he only laughed harder.

    Then there were the more obvious promises. All the times Jim muttered "I love you" like a broken prayer into Sophia's mouth, and all the times she stared forcefully at his sleeping face in the early morning. I knew what she was thinking in those times. Something like, it feels like forever.

    I never gathered regular news about Jim and Sophia's lives. What I gleaned was from scraps of paper left on the desk and conversations about other things. Things that started like:

    "I finally got a copy of my thesis to Prof. Edgerton."

    Jim was getting out of the shower, I thought; I couldn't see the entire bathroom, but his voice was magnified weirdly and the air was hot and wet. They often left the door to the bathroom open while they bathed, and the regular steam was causing my paint to begin peeling up in tiny curls. It was my first sign of age, like Jim's deepening smile lines.

    "Mm?" Sophia was at her desk, reading a letter. "Did he like it?"

    "He called in 'utter ****,'" Jim declared. His tone was flat, like when he was angry with Sofia for leaving her clothes all over the floor.

    Sophia grunted.

    Jim emerged from the bathroom, a towel slung around his hips, and stared at Sophia. "Well, what do you think about that?"

    She glanced up from her letter. "You knew he was an asshole when you asked him to advise you, though, didn't you?"

    Sighing, Jim rifled through the dresser pressed up against my far left corner, and slammed the top drawer with so much force that I shuddered. "You're right," he said. "You're right, of course."

    "I think it's a brilliant thesis, love."


    Sophia smiled to herself, and licked the top of an envelope before sealing it.
    Last edited by Nancy Lakes; 05-23-2017 at 08:37 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Columbus, Ohio
    I think it's an interesting idea, but there's not much point to it that I can see, pretty random. It just kind of rambles, very disconnected. Just when something interesting happens ("I hate your mother"), you blow it away by the next little disconnected thing. I think you could safely jettison James and Rachel unless you have some kind of reason for them to be in the story.

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