Watching Walls

by Stephanie Augustine

The older woman with three cats, even though there was a no-cat rule.

She ate pasta every Tuesday and salad on Friday

and wore her hair in a long, gray braid every single day.

She brushed her teeth at precisely nine,

and always read her Bible before she fell asleep.

Two years.


The college student with the nerdy glasses.

He was always on his computer, typing,

paper after paper. He had an obsession with Solitaire

and tried to beat the computer every night except Saturday.

Saturdays he went out with his friends to play Ping Pong.

Three and a half months.


The divorced man with the young girlfriends.

He had about three or four at a time.

His face got all red and he didn’t shave when they broke up with him.

He got drunk three nights a week

and prayed to the porcelain god three mornings a week

Six months.


The young, single mom with twin daughters.

She loved chocolate, and always kept a store of it.

She always kept the cookie jar full for the girls,

who were six years old.

She liked to watch movies on Friday and sleep in on Saturday.

One year, one month.


The man who turned thirty here.

He loved his piano, and played it daily.

He ate buttered toast while conversing with the guinea pig,

and wore the same dark suit and striped tie on Mondays and Thursdays.

He went to church every Sunday for three hours.

Two years, four months.


Empty walls now.

No photos, no paintings, no idiosyncrasies.

Quiet every morning, quiet every night.

Nothing in the oven or microwave.

No ringing doorbells.

Three months, and counting.