Walls have ears. They listen to everything that happens. They hear love, hate, frustration, happiness and fear. Walls are absorbent. They embrace time and trap it. As I wake, I feel the security of those walls. Nothing gets in and nothing gets out.
The sleeper is lodged beneath wakefulness. I can hear his deep breaths washing up and away from the shore. There is a warmth at my side that confirms that I am not dreaming.
I have never caused him to stir. Never pushed him gently from his place of rest. And never reached out to hold him. He sleeps as I slide from beneath the duvet. He sleeps as I trace my way along the wall and towards the door. The smallest noise that I make evades him yet registers with the wall. The wall urges me on and I reach for the opening and am out.
Away from him, there is a glimpse of light. It tempts me on and I move with a half certainty that I know this place. Knowing does not come so easily, it washes around before seeping into the sand and then the bedrock. Yet, I think that I know this place and have always known it. I can walk unimpeded into its darkness and it will not trick me.
I think that I dreamt last night. It was the kiosk man again, but he was older. I see him when I go to the underground. He picks me out from the other shadows and greets me. He calls me darling and asks how the world is treating me. I think that I usually respond with the same answer. That was until I changed to something which now is lost. What I do remember was the nod of encouragement, an almost imperceptible movement, but one that was real. The kiosk man is always there and that is a certainty. Most people are not.
There is an ouline of light before me. It comes from the places that the door and its frame cannot cover. It is an escape and I wish to join it. Beyond the door are the waters in which I will someday bathe. A memory of them washing over me. Beyond that door is salvation, but there is another door and something has begun to pound upon it. Knock, knock. Never quiet. And yet my sleeper sleeps on. Then distant thuds announce a giant walking towards me.
I have a memory. It is one that crept into my thoughts and has stayed there. I was a girl of about seven or eight. Evenings brought trepidation and excitement. Mornings brought relief or sadness. It was Christmas and I had a friend but that friend was, “taken from us, all too soon.” That’s how adults spoke.
So much darkness was falling from the skies and so many were falling beneath it. He had stayed in his own little shelter. He had a dog with puppies and it was Christmas and he couldn’t leave them. He hid with them through the sirens and his parent had other children so they had to leave him. The following morning the house, the boy and the puppies were gone, “taken from us all too soon.”
The next night when we went to the underground, he was there walking along with the other shadows and he smiled. We sang songs to stave off our sadness and he smiled, but he was fading. Later, he was gone. Now, after lives have been lived, he is edging back towards me.
My sleeper sleeps, unaware that I have tiptoed around his bed and have longed to reach out to touch him.
“Good evening. How is the world treating you?”
“Like a long-lost friend.”
“Well then, you must open the door and let in the day.”
There is a rumble of thunder as the giant begins to move.