The Walking Wall
by Tao Lin
The wall was our bathroom wall. It had wallpaper that had little staplers on it that made me sad when I looked at it.
The first day that the wall wasn't there we didn't say anything. My brother and I were not on good terms.
The second day the wall was in the hallway, lengthwise, so that there were now two separate hallways that led to the bathroom, which, with only three walls now, opened to the backyard. On the way to the bathroom that night, I saw my brother coming down the now very narrow hallway. He would have to pass me to get to our room, which we shared. We were still not on good terms, so when I knelt down to allow him to pass me by stepping over me it was in a mean and impatient way. I thought, why didn't he use the left hallway? This was America, not Britain, I wanted to joke. But didn't, since we were not on good terms. He climbed over me and I stayed on my hands and knees until I was sure he was in our room. Then I stood up.
The third day I went into the bathroom and saw that the wall was in the backyard. My brother was trying to climb it. He had one foot on the toilet paper roll thing and one hand on a painting framed up top. The painting was of a cat and my brother drew it when he was four and it made me sad to look at it. He kept climbing. I called him an idiot. Then the toilet paper roll broke off. He dangled there, holding onto the top of the wall. The painting fell. I kind of wanted to help him up and then climb the wall myself, but we were not on good terms, so I just watched and kept calling him names. Then the wall toppled onto him and I thought, hey, wait. And I kept thinking that, and looking, and after a while, then, the wall lifted itself upright and my brother was gone.
About the author:
Tao Lin's collection of poetry, You Are A Little Bit Happier Than I Am, will be published by Action Books Fall 2006. He lives in New York City. His web site is Reader of Depressing Books.