Walking through the storm, her face stung, pelted by fierce sheets of sleet and hail, as she approached the line that separated them; one made bold, inerasable, incapable of being washed away, rigid and firm with stones, some small, some large, all perched one upon another, reaching a height tall enough to make it hard for them to see each other. But just as the wall was there (long in place long before she moved there, tho’ that, too, was long ago), she knew her neighbor was there, always there…
that no stone fell from its place.
And if one did, as stones have a way of doing, being sure it to replace.
Thus assuring that there was not, that there never could be a breach
(allowing someone or something from outside in or from inside out),
for then what good would it be to have a wall?
Yes, she knew her neighbor was there, who, because of the wall, never was a neighbor, rather always a stranger. That always made her sad. Sad enough that, finally, after praying on the matter, she decided that she could live no longer, but would rather die with her neighbor being a stranger. (To be so close always, yet so far away always was like death anyway.) As she knew her neighbor, the stranger was there, always there – waiting, watching, wanting, wishing for no stone to go falling – she came. (She could have waited for a sunny, cloudless day, for then they could see more clearly, talk more freely, and hear more easily. But weather be damned! This – being always so near, yet always so far, being neighbors, but truly strangers – was like death. Thus bad enough that something, anything had to be done, and now, even without the sun!) And, she knew, with the wall so high, that her neighbor, the stranger wouldn’t, couldn’t detect her coming (for, if knowing, she knew her neighbor, the stranger would go running away).
Reaching and placing a hand on the wall, under her breath muttering, protesting its very presence, nagging, too, about her neighbor, the stranger, she stood on tiptoe and saw the top of her neighbor’s, the stranger’s head. “Hello!” she said, yelling, yearning to be heard over the wind’s yowling.
“Hello!” she answered back, and quick.
Surprised that her neighbor, the stranger replied and didn’t make hasty retreat, her heart skipped a beat. Suddenly at a loss for words, she stammered, “I…I…I came, um…to talk with you…uh, about…about…”
She was shocked, and all the more because her neighbor, the stranger, had put her hands on top of the wall, pulling herself up to the point that they, even through the rain, eye to eye could see. Her neighbor, the stranger, had a kind face, she thought, and, even with the rain, she could see an unmistakable torrent of tears pouring down her neighbor’s, the stranger’s face. “Y…y…yes! How…how did you…how could you know?”
“I’ve been here. Always. Since the day you moved in, tho’, now, so long ago. I’ve been waiting, watching, wanting, wishing for you to come. I’ve been wondering, wishing, if ever you did, whether you’d help me take down this wall that gets in our way, that keeps us at bay, that won’t let us be neighbors, for I cannot do it by myself. I want you…I wish you…will you help me?”