I was the soft mint green mural adorning the eastern exterior wall of the Sprouts at the Wash Street corner mall. You were the sandy blonde in ripped “boy” jeans. You stopped by the other day and took over 130 pictures of yourself in front me.
I’m new to this town, so I was excited to learn this old place had some life in it. My creator birthed me six days ago, and I went unnoticed, seen as a convenient toilet or a good place to rest a weary back needing a smoke.
But then you came along cheerfully swinging your reusable Sprouts shopping bag. What was it you bought again? Ah, right, Boar’s Head Garlic Bologna. Quarter pound, sliced.
You called me beautiful. You complimented me, and I complimented your rose gold Beats By Dre. You called me perfect, and we made each other feel so. You said we matched. I’d never been anyone’s match until I met you.
Then you and I posed for 132 semi-distinguishable photographs for your Instagram. You laughed without noise. You stared longingly at that crack in the pavement. You blew a kiss to no one, though the liberty auto-insurance sign spinner thought otherwise. The one you ended up picking, the one where you twirled your hair like it was a bowl of linguine floating in dark matter, that one was special. And that’s when I fell for you.
I remember you slid your finger indecisively across the bottom of your Galaxy S7 and by extension me. You adjusted how the light played across my exposed body to reveal who I am. And what draws me to you even more, while I know you did it all with care of your followers in mind, I couldn’t help but notice you seemed to care for me, the wall.
I don’t want to presume, but I venture to guess you shared our photo with the world because hundreds of others have come and taken thousands of near carbon copies of the moment we shared not two days ago. Yet somehow, all I can think about — yes, I can think — is our moment. I’m led to think that maybe one of them will bring out my best self and adjust the color saturation like you did. They never do, and it all feels so fleeting.
They don’t appreciate my originality like you. No one spends an hour and thirty minutes in heated debate with themselves over which photo of us they should share. It’s always which photo of them. They come, they snap, they leave. Perhaps I’ve yet to arrive at the gross realization that you weren’t different.
My cousin, a cheap Shepard Ferry rip-off two blocks up, warned me of this. Said I shouldn’t get attached to the “grambots” and the “snapturds.” Maybe I’m foolhardy for not believing him, or a quixotic wall for holding onto the hope that you’ll be able to read this letter, because in my heart of hearts I know translating Stucco to English is a chore. I fear that when you decide to become fluent, some damn ad for the American Health Fund may come and take my place.
If you do learn my language in time, or at least one of its three claddings, understand this: I want you. I want every piece of you — your insecurities, your ambition. I want to feel your soft human skin on my bumpy hard composite flesh. I want to tear down this fence dividing you from me, but I don’t have hands. I want to have intercourse with you but I don’t have a urethra to carry my dusty seed. I want to sweep you off your feet and run away to Aruba, but I don’t have legs, and hell if know how to swim.
I guess, and maybe it’s just wolly — that’s wall folly — what all this boils down to is love. I love you, and if you love me like your followers love you, I’ll be here waiting patiently as the sun rises and sets — because I can’t physically sleep — until the city’s mural ordinance approves the next guy, or worse: I find out you’ve run off with a giant inflatable swan.