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Yours and Mine

If Walls Could Talk

By Matthew PerrinoPublished about a year ago 8 min read

If walls could talk, I would tell you this:

I've been there since the beginning, before there was ever a you. I remember your parents stepping into my vacant room for the first time. They were young then, so young. Your mother walked around smiling, glancing from me to the other light gray walls. "This would make such a cute nursery," she told your father.

Your parents left my room shortly after that. I didn't see them again for a while. I did see a lot of other people though, all coming and going, examining me and the other walls to determine if we were good enough. Then one day, your parents came back. They strolled into my empty room, beaming and holding hands. "I can't believe this house is ours," your father uttered in amazement.

"Me neither. This will be the perfect place for her to grow up." Your mother brought a hand to her stomach, which appeared more swollen than I remembered, and gave it a gentle rub.

That was the first time I ever saw you. You were just a bump in your mother's stomach, but you were there. And you were already so very loved.

I saw your parents often after that. Sometimes, I would catch them through the open door, walking down the hall. Other times, they would enter my room, dressed in shabby clothes, and make improvements. They painted the walls--they painted me--a fresh, new color. I never knew cream would look so good on me. They covered the ground with plush carpet, installed an overhead light fixture, and filled the room with brown, wooden furniture: a crib, a dresser with a changing table, a nightstand, and a rocking chair. My room felt more like a room now; it felt complete. Each time I saw your mother, her stomach looked a little bigger. You looked a little bigger.

And then suddenly, you were here.

Your parents entered my room, one after the other. You were no longer a bump in your mother's stomach. You were now a bundle of blankets and love in her arms. "Welcome home," your father whispered as he caressed your bald, little head.

This wasn't just my room anymore. It was our room now. Yours and mine. And then I realized: the room wasn't complete, until you came into it.

If walls had lips, I would've smiled.

No matter the time of day, I was there. I listened to the stories that your mother and father read to you, and unfortunately, I also listened to your endless wailing. I watched over you each night as you slept soundly in your crib. I stood beside your parents as they beamed down at you, their eyes twinkling with adoration. They loved you so much.

I loved you so much.

You were such a tiny, precious thing back then. Innocence and purity wrapped up in large, angelic eyes and chubby cheeks. But that quickly changed. I heard your coos shape into actual words. I witnessed as your wobbly tumbles became your first uncertain steps. Your father was kneeling behind you, cheering, as you staggered across our room, heading toward your mother. Heading toward me.

If walls had arms, mine would've been extended and open, beckoning you, welcoming you. Waiting for you.

I watched you grow and blossom into a sweet-natured, little girl. Your bald head sprouted long hair that your mother loved to style. You traded onesies and bibs for bows and pretty dresses. You went from sticking rubber toys in your mouth to doodling in coloring books and playing with plastic dolls. You did puzzles with your father and made up dance routines with your mother. Our room didn't change much during this time. Your dresser lost its changing table, the rocking chair was moved to another room, and your crib was replaced with a bed. But the best change of all was the laughter. It filled our room, the entire house like music.

But even the most beautiful songs eventually have to end.

You used to spend most of your time in our room; I saw you more than anyone else did, even your parents. Until one day, you slipped on a backpack, and you disappeared. I was so confused, so worried. Relief washed over me like fresh paint when you finally resurfaced. But then you left again the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that. This, I soon learned, was your new routine. You were always gone now, and that was difficult for me to manage. But in the end, you always came back, and with you came new changes. You brought pint-sized friends into our room and proudly showed it off. You read stories to your parents instead of the other way around. You added a wooden desk to our room and used it to do something called homework.

Soon, you outgrew your bows and pretty dresses. In fact, you outgrew a lot of things. Your coloring books and plastic dolls went into a box in the back of the closet. I saw less and less of your laughter and smiles. And you--you saw less and less of your parents. For some reason, you lost interest in them, you snapped at them, you ignored them. Your parents were always there, just like I was. And like me, they could do nothing to reach you. You covered the walls, you covered me, with posters of young heartthrobs. You spent so much time--all your time, it seemed--on the new computer at your desk. And for the first time since I've known you, I felt jealous. I was there your entire life, yet you never gave me the attention that you gave to that computer screen.

If walls had screens, would you have looked at me? Interacted with me? Loved me?

You continued bringing friends, taller and older friends than before, into our room. Sometimes, to my surprise, these friends turned out to be boys. I would've liked to shut them out, but you welcomed them into our room--and then into your bed. One time, your father accidentally walked in and interrupted you. I had never witnessed such anger. The boy left in a panicked hurry, while you fought with your parents. Your furious voices filled our room, the entire house.

In his blind rage, your father hit me. His trembling fist went through me and left a gaping hole.

If walls had eyes, I would've wept.

Your father patched me up the next day with spackle and fresh paint. I felt as good as new. But some bruises can't be seen or repaired so easily. Your interactions with your parents were tense, awkward, and uncomfortable for a while. It took your father coming into our room, breaking down, and apologizing for his reaction--and then you breaking down and apologizing in return--for you both to move forward.

Some time after that, things got better. Your harsh attitude toward your parents softened. You started talking to them again, sharing things with them, embracing them. You still spent too much time on the computer, but at least now, you were mostly busy with your studies. You became tidier and kept your belongings clean and organized. You went back to reading books, much thicker ones than before, though you did so now in peaceful solitude. You no longer invited multiple boys into our room. Now there was only one, always the same boy. Your father never berated you for it, so I suppose it was alright. I watched you become kinder, more intelligent, more confident. For the first time in a long time, I saw the sweet-natured, little girl that I used to watch everyday. Except you weren't a little girl anymore. You had grown into a young woman.

But there was something amiss. Over time, you packed certain belongings into cardboard boxes and stacked them in the corner of our room. You emptied half your dresser and closet and tucked these clothes into your suitcases. You exchanged heartfelt farewells with close friends and with that boy who was always here.

Then one day, your father took those boxes and luggage out of our room, sniffling to himself as he did. Your mother was leaning against our doorway, tears brimming in her eyes. She was looking at you with the same love and adoration that I had noticed in her face all those years ago, when she carried you in here for the first time. You were such a tiny, precious thing back then. Now you were a young woman, standing in the center of our room. You twirled around in place, a fond smile playing on your lips, taking in every inch of our space. Your eyes went from cream wall to cream wall--and then landed on me, lingering for a bit longer than I would've expected. It was like you finally saw me.

Then you slipped on a backpack and left. And this time, you didn't come back.

If walls had hearts, mine would have been broken.

There had been nights before where you didn't return but never this long. I'm still not sure where you went, but it's clear that you traveled some place far. Meanwhile, I'm still here, standing guard over your vacant bed. Our room feels so much emptier without you. Your parents visit me less, though every now and then, they'll stroll inside and look around with a bittersweet smile. They miss you.

I miss you.

I'm hopeful that one day, you'll come back. Everything is just the way you left it, I promise. Every picture frame and tchotchke in its place, your bed perfectly made, the floor and shelves all tidy and clean. I hope you'll return, and when you do, it'll be like you never left. You'll read your books, spend too much time on the computer, chat with your parents, and then collapse in bed after a long, exhausting day. I'm sure you'll bring some changes with you: new friends, new hobbies, new appearances. Maybe even new homes and new rooms to call your own. But if walls could talk, I would tell you this: it doesn't matter where you go; this will always be our room, yours and mine. It will be waiting for you when you eventually come back.

And like always, so will I.

Short StoryLovefamily

About the Creator

Matthew Perrino

A dreamer and wannabe-author, who flops back and forth between loving and hating his work. Imagination extraordinaire, who spends far too much time thinking about words.

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