Washing Dishes

The kitchen window overlooks the neighbour’s wall. Our wall. But it was built and paid for by HIM and in my mind will always be HIS wall. My side is raw brick. Not a nice rough face-brick brick but a mottled red-and-black brick. The sun strikes that wall everyday with such intensity it should have faded, have more character, but it looks as if it had been built yesterday. I did, once, try to grow a creeper to cover it. I carefully nurtured tender plants, placing curling tendrils onto climbing frames but it didn’t last. Too hot, too sunny my sister muttered when I showed her the brown tips. I gave up after that, let the wall stand as a testament to my inability to negotiate, or follow through.

I let HIM take half a foot at the back of my property to build the wall. It will make everything square and the wall will be easier to build. In exchange HE would plaster my side. I was going to paint it myself. I picked out the colour, a rustic redbrown to absorb the heat. I was going to build a patio, put out a table and chairs for evening drinks and supper.

The wall went up. No plaster. HE never answered my calls and ignored me when I knocked on HIS door. I tried to ambush him a few times when HE came home from work, smacking my palm onto HIS car window. HE stared ahead, opened the garage door with HIS remote and drove in. If I hadn’t stepped back HE would have driven over my foot.

HIS side of the wall is painted white. On weekends I see HIM touching up the white with a paintbrush and a small pot of white paint. I once tried to stand on a chair and talk to HIM over the wall but HE didn’t even acknowledge me. HE slowly and carefully closed the paint can and went inside.

HIS grass in bright green. Mine is dusty brown and only in the summer rains does it turn green, patchy green and yellow. It’s obvious that I am not much of a gardener either.

My mother once said to me when I was about eight years old what is your purpose? What are you good for?

Yes indeed, what am I good for?


(photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash)