The Walls Would Say: A Letter to Kate, About our Apartments

Dear Kate,

I think that a lot of people probably live in a couple of places together before really settling. Like, buy furniture that isn’t from IKEA, I might need a pair of gardening gloves because wouldn’t a garden be great-type settling. Right now we’re somewhere in-between.

If walls could talk, they would spin tales of the civilizations we’ve lived among. The loose ends of those tales would find themselves tied up in the headphones I lost last month. Those should be in the back of the junk drawer.

They’d talk about the couple who smokes so much pot on the floor below us, that after a bad day I had a note written to them asking who their guy was. I never had the guts to slip it under the door.

The walls would say that they’ve heard their fair share of silence; felt their fair share of emptiness. They weren’t there when we walked home separately from that concert, but boy, did they hear about it once we got back. For every one of these nights, those walls have also smelled waffles at 9pm on a work night. They’ve been bathed in imaginary swaths of every color imaginable. Red doors seem to go really well with “one day.”

For everything that hasn’t worked (gray couch: I’m looking at you), it seems as though infinitely more things have.

The walls would say we burn a lot of food. They’d say the back stairwell on Sheffield is too loud, the side stairwell on Madison too long. They’d agree that on nights when we just want to sleep, the walls are far too thin. On nights where we don’t–they’re still too thin. Yet, in a time where we are so inundated with hearing about the lives of others, I take some sort of archaic pleasure in actually hearing the lives of others. I like that our walls are thin. I like that the weekend roof crowd gets loud.

Except for the cigarette smoke in the bathroom that snakes in from the vent in the ceiling.

I wonder about Ruth, grumpy guy, Abby’s creepy boyfriend, funny girl, Harry’s mom, Mama Needs a Cigarette, Mamacita, Girl with the White Dog, American bulldog if-I-didn’t-have-you-I’d-be-crushing-on-him guy. I wonder if we are in their letters.

The scent of Indian food played in the background of most of our first year living together. Fat, soft, blasts of curry infused heat flattened the top of my wispy, ponytailed head as I walked past the vent next to Titan Security. It always seemed to be curry in the summer, chocolate in the fall and winter. Our noses were stuffed up and frostbit in early spring.

The walls would say that we need to invest in a light on the far side of the living room, that the kitchen’s linoleum-heavy design is dated, and that we should stop putting off getting curtains. But they might also say that the far side is perfect on movie nights, our kitchen finally has room for two, and that there’s nothing like waking up to a Midwest sunrise creeping through the brick and leaves.

Most importantly, they’d ask to keep painting them in imaginary colors; perhaps every color goes really well with “one day.”





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