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by Tao Lin >

The Walking Wall

The wall was our bathroom wall. It had wallpaper with little staplers on it that made me sad.

The first day that the wall wasn’t there we didn’t say anything. My brother and I were not on good terms.

The second day the wall was in the hallway, lengthwise, so that there were now two separate hallways that led to the bathroom, which, with only three walls now, opened to the backyard. On the way to the bathroom that night I saw my brother coming down the now very narrow hallway. He would have to pass me to get to our room, which we shared. We were still not on good terms, so when I kneeled to allow him to pass, by stepping over me, it was in a mean and impatient way. I thought, Why didn’t he use the left hallway? This is America, not the United Kingdom, I wanted to joke. But didn’t, since we were not on good terms. He climbed over me. I stayed on my hands and knees until I was sure he was in our room. Then I stood up.

The third day I went into the bathroom and saw that the wall was in the backyard. My brother was trying to climb it. He had one foot on the toilet paper roll holder and one hand on a painting framed up top. The painting was of a cat and my brother drew it when he was four and it made me sad to look at it. He kept climbing. I called him stupid. Then the toilet paper roll holder broke off. He dangled there, holding on to the top of the wall. The painting fell. I kind of wanted to help him up and then climb the wall myself, but we were not on good terms, so instead I watched and called him names. Then the wall fell on him. I thought, Hey, wait. I kept thinking that. After a while the wall lifted itself upright and my brother was gone.