Fiction: Bare Walls

by Bob Schwartz

White Wall

I want the walls to be bare. The way they were when I first moved in. For that, I would need a time machine. Or I could remove the framed pictures, move everything out, the desk, the bookshelves, the file cabinets. All of it could sit in other rooms and in the hallways.

The rug could stay. So could a chair, from which I could scan the room. One blinded window, two closet doors, one room door. And the white walls.

Maybe a lamp too. That depends on how natural I want it to be. Without the lamp, the walls could follow the daily cycle, lit a little or a lot, if the blinds were open or closed, if the sky was clear or cloudy. With a lamp, it wouldn’t matter. I could choose when to see the walls and when not. The same goes for the ceiling, if I got up off the chair and lay face up on the rug. Lamp or no lamp, eyes open or closed, day or night, I would know the walls were there and bare.

In the dark, it might be easier to imagine the time machine. Maybe that’s why I wanted the bare walls in the first place. To strip history bare. Not just my history, that delivered the pictures and the furniture, but all history ever. The walls would hum and thrum silently, harmonic to some time before the before, peaceful music that would only play when the walls were stripped bare.

It all seems so much work, the moving, the removing, the scanning, the imagining, eyes open and closed, blinds open and closed, the sun hiding behind clouds, coming out, going away and going to sleep. Returning tomorrow.

The walls will be here tomorrow. Ready to remain partly hidden, ready to be bared. Ready to sing.