These Walls

I don’t know how many stressed and caffeine-pumped college students have lived within these walls, on the third story overlooking the development and the river, but for these four months, they’re mine.

Encased in brick, howling when the winds weave themselves through the cracks and gaps and under the door. In through the windowpanes. Seeping into the vents. There’s no shortage of fresh air in this old apartment building. Surprisingly, the door to the balcony remains on its hinges and the screens are still in the windows.

The matted tan carpet speaks of ages of feet pounding down little tufts of once-soft raggedy yarn. A sloppy paint job tries to freshen up old drywall. Bugs keep me company. Stinkbugs. House centipedes. House flies, only a couple of those.

When the wind is still, the laundry machines aren’t shrieking in their nest down the hall (as they are now – with my laundry), the neighbors aren’t laughing or screaming or vacuuming, and no planes are roaring by in the sky… it’s silent here.

So I turn on the bathroom fan and listen to it whir in the background.

Through the night. And the day. Sometimes I play music to fill the silence. But eventually music loses its touch.

These walls held me when no one else could. They were the place I came home to. The place I wanted to be.

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