The Wall

For as long as she could remember it had stood there solid and unmoving so unlike everything else around her. The children played in its shadow just as she had once done. Nobody paid any attention to it than they would a tree. But was that truly the case? Didn’t they all wake up to the sight of its inscrutable presence, which asked nothing and gave nothing in return? Perhaps each one woke and looking at the wall wondered how it came to be there, what it meant if anything at all, if there was something beyond and what it was.

Every morning she looked out of the window and there it was jarring her consciousness. Whenever she spoke to others about it they would say I don’t know or it’s been there a long time. Once when she asked her grandmother what it was, her response had been, it never did anybody any harm. As far back as she could remember nobody had taken her up to the wall and said “look, a wall”, as they would some other object. They had never said, the colour of the wall is brown and it is made of stones, rather they made allusions to it which only made it all the more obscure and in a way threatening.

What little she had learned about it had been from fairytales. In one the the hero plunges into the wilderness to discover its origins only to wither away in the mist. As a child whenever she played hide and seek with the other children she would look wistfully up it’s moss covered surface wishing she could find a hole through which to crawl to the other side where no one would find her. How many times had she wished herself a bird so she would discover what lay beyond or of following it to the ends of the earth wherever that may be and finally penetrate it’s mysteries. It was utterly irrational and this fascinated her. Unlike anything else around her it didn’t belong. Something had placed it there, but whom? Why was everybody so reluctant to speak about it?

Once a man who was said to be mad had caused an uproar when he tried to dig a trench at its base. He had been carted away before he could do any damage.