The walls

The walls, which let out to hidden spaces along the passageway as mere shadowy breaks in the continuity, are a fresco of wear and multiple occupations. Where one surface meets another, layers of the narrative fall away revealing strata of heavy paint coats, all murky, translucent colours gleaned from discarded objects catching the sun through filmy water in which they are suspended. Light filtered through drifting clouds of wet fur clotted with household dust, when passed through a soiled teal bath towel, from which the brackish water has dissolved plumes of brownish red, casts subdued seagreen and old gold from which a character or pigment could be extracted. In the reflection is another reflection in a vanity mirror, through the ajar door. Hands pull downward on the towel. It is pulled deeper away from the sun into rattling fluorescent light and false multidirectional shadows that reveal its discolouration. A mug, tossed into the still water, floats upright for some time. Breezes or wakes begin to toss ribbons of wavelets over the lip into the vessel so finely that the liquid merely runs down the inside wall and begins to pool. There is a moment in the trials of the vessel where the final wavelet corresponds with the precise weight of the pooled water and it is pulled beneath the surface where the sun casts across it a filthy sallowed bone hue. The edges of these colours, the old potential evacuations built up into a whole forgotten shell, a sandbar full of empty shells, peel away around the dim door jamb underneath her fidgeting and tracing fingernails. Her thumbs spread across the outer surface of the door jamb. Your feet, shod in bright white sneakers against pale green and gold outdoor carpet, jut over the dusty wood threshold. The driftwood and debris are piled high above where your inverted palms touch the door. In touching the coats of paint in succession, sliding your fingernails beneath each stratum, you invite yourself into the latent abandonments, recuperations, refusals, surrenders, and fatal triumphs of each apartment that, scattered about by the tides, has merely been replicated, found again elsewheres, reinhabited, repainted, and stocked with discarded items that have washed ashore enough times that they cannot be thrown back, and grow familiar. Each coat of paint covers the apartment that has been evacuated at that particular point in time, its colour a memorial, as each coat also creates a new apartment at some distant point in space, which you will undoubtedly step into again, somewhere further east.

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