Holes in the walls

 

By Carrie Lee

 

What I’m struggling with most of all

Is finding balance

Between truth and kindness

My brother is making an art gallery on the walls

Carving his sixteen year old emotions into sculptures

His hands are his tools

Touching,

Feeling

The plaster,

Making it his own.

 

My mother sighed

It’s just a phase

She wanted to take it down

Before he made any more

Cover it up with a piece of bread

I said no

Took her hand

Squeezed it

Isn’t it beautiful?

We should frame it.

 

She looked at me

With something between love and sadness

Because don’t the things we love

Make us sad sometimes?

So I took a wooden frame,

Framed it,

And there we had it,

A gallery on the walls.

 

And he locked himself in his room

Working on his creations,

He didn’t speak a word to us for days

And the dinner we left outside his door

Remained untouched.

Day and night

I could hear him chipping away

Each gentle brush stroke of the fingers

Bringing new form to life

Turning his canvas into living holes,

Something into nothing,

Nothing into something.

 

Sometimes when he wasn’t looking

I’d sneak in to look at the holes

Holes of different sizes and shapes

Some so rough his tools snapped –

He left their skeletons on the floor.

 

I put my hand into the holes

Feeling for stardust

Or a bird’s nest

But they were just empty,

Just holes.

I left a gumnut inside one,

I wanted to crawl in and hide in another.

I left a letter written to my future self:

Hello?

SOS

Are you happy?

 

We invited people to come and see the gallery,

First friends and family,

They said it was very nice,

Then friends of friends,

Then strangers,

Lining up to peek inside our home.

Some said they were spectacular,

Others said it was just nothing,

I said no, they were definitely something.

 

But only we knew how my brother

Poured his heart and soul into those holes,

It was like his heart didn’t have enough space

To hold it inside,

So he kept making holes

And we let him make holes

Until all the walls had holes in them

And the whole house was one long tapestry of holes,

Bent at the corners to make walls.

 

I felt like the walls were alive

And all the holes were open wounds,

Bleeding little trickles of paint at the edges,

I wanted to touch the walls gently

And whisper

That everything was going to be okay.

The walls would believe me

Because I knew how it felt,

We all knew how it felt.

 

Dry, cracked paint,

Weeping paint,

Dripping to the floor paint,

Puddles of paint,

Like the holes themselves were crying.

 

Puddles of tears

That wouldn’t stop,

Room to room, we wore rainboots,

Paintboots,

I mopped up the puddles

Alone

Absorbing responsibility,

And I kept the curtains open

So that every morning when the sun rose

Light poured into the room

Turning all the little holes into glowing orbs,

Sweet little suns.