The wall looks different. It’s just a wall in the hallway. We have pictures hanging on the walls of our family. Old pictures in black in white. New pictures in color. But this part of the hallway doesn’t have any pictures. It’s blank and always has been.
Hasn’t it? The wall looks the same but it feels different. Was there a picture here? The wall is smooth and unscarred by picture mounts. There are no telltale patches of a repaired spot. No picture has ever hung there. Why does it seem bare? Why haven’t we hung a picture there?
You seem puzzled when I ask. To you the hallway is full of pictures. The bare wall has been unseen by you until now. We stand before the wall contemplating it. A wall. It’s just a wall. We should hang pictures or a piece of art on it. But we don’t.
Days pass and the bareness of the wall becomes less unsettling. I pass by it without staring every time. You seem to have completely forgotten about wall unless I mention it. I try to forget; don’t look at the wall. There never was the thing I don’t remember on the wall. Forget.
But sometimes I catch something out of the corner of my eye. Picture frames the never were. A child that never was. Family pictures that never happened. When I look at the wall, it’s blank.
Just as it always has been.