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There is a Wall Between Us

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Maggie likes her dorm. It’s small but cosy. A soft bed, a hardy desk, a small wardrobe and a tall shelf all within a few feet of each other. A pride flag hangs on the wall above her table and a bonsai tree sits proudly on her shelf along with all her textbooks about criminal investigation. Pens and notes from her classes scatter across her table and her backpack sits at the foot of her table. Several photos of her and friends are stuck haphazardly on her wall, Maggie never gave much thought about decoration. A photo of her and her aunt is stuck on the wardrobe door. Maggie’s aunt - not one big on religion frowned upon her brother for abandoning his daughter, she cared for Maggie to the best of her ability and for that Maggie is grateful to her.

The walls in the dorms are on the thin side, Maggie could hear the shuffling of feet and movements of the girl next door. Maggie hardly sees her, must be a busy person she muses.

Maggie lounges on her bed after a long day of classes and studying. She writes in her journal about and day and the tasks she has to complete when she hears the girl next door arguing. Not one to eavesdrop. Maggie plugs in her earphones.

Moments past and Maggie is started by a thud against the wall of her bed, she pulls out her earphones to the unmistakable sound of crying. This has been occurring over the past few months and Maggie is becoming concern for her neighbour.

“Hey, are you alright?” Maggie calls out.

Alex was not having a good day, she is behind on classes and struggling to cope and Kara didn’t help by calling her mom to check in on her. The phone call ended in a shouting match.

Startled by the voice from the wall Alex sniffles and curls up into a fetal position pulling the covers over her. Head on her pillow she feels exhausted.

“No I’m not” she answers, her voice hoarse.

“Wanna talk about it?” Maggie offers.

“I fought with my mom again.”

“Oh”

Silence ensues between them.

“Is there anything I can do to make you feel better?”

“I don’t think so”

“I’m going to be in my room if you need anything just ask. I can be a listening ear.”
Alex doesn't answers and drifts off to sleep.

The sun rises and shines through the curtains down on Alex’s face. Alex awakens and uncurls herself. She rubs the sleep from her eyes and wipes away the streaks of dried tears from her face. She drinks water from the closest bottle within her reach. She sits on the bed recalling the conversation she had with the neighbouring dorm mate.

“Are you there?” Alex calls out.

“Yeah?”

“What is your name?”

“Maggie”

Alex ponders over the name.

“You?” Maggie calls out.

“Alex”

“Hey Alex it sounded like you had a shit night last night but it’s the morning now, things can get better even if you can’t see it.”

“Thanks, Maggie.”

“Anytime”

A friendship begins to blossom between the two of them. They don’t get to see each much other due to conflicting schedules but they converse regularly on their own bed through the wall at night.

“My sister bumped me today and made me spill coffee all over myself.”

“Ouch.”

“How was your day?”

“I got dumped today”

“I’m sorry”

“Don’t be it wasn’t serious”

“Her loss”
“My professor is unreasonable she gave she three assignment within the span of two days and expects it in four days.”

“I have a biomedical paper due in forty-two hours and I haven’t started it yet”

“Good luck”

“Thanks, I’ll need it”

Maggie likes to ponder over their late night conversations in her spare time, she thinks Alex is a pretty cool friend to have. Maggie also realises that Alex doesn't talk much about dating.

“Hey, Alex?”

“Yeah”

“What are your thoughts on dating.”

“A waste of time. No offence to you though, it’s just my personal opinion”

“No one nice in your class?”

“No, there are some nice guys, I have been asked out but I never really caught feeling you know”

“Oh”

“Why?”

“Nothing just curious.”

“My sister is bringing a box of doughnuts for breakfast tomorrow can I leave one in front of your door in a container?”

“Aw Danvers you feed me well”

Maggie hears Alex’s indignant huff through the wall.

“Sharing is caring Sawyer and I’m not going soft on you”

“I wouldn’t doubt it.”

The doughnut left in front of her room door made her day despite not being able to say thanks in person (Alex had an earlier class than her to attend too).

Once in a blue moon, they do get to hang out together but today was unexpected.
Maggie decided to visit the college library, she wanted a change in scenery, also because she wanted to look for resources that would help her in her assignment. Little did she know that Alex too would be there too.

Alex feels herself tense as someone’s presence pasts her, she looks up and flushes spotting Maggie. She exchanges a smile with Maggie and pretends to go back to her work. The main reason for her library visit has been ruined. She had wanted to look at some books on human sexuality she spotted sitting on a shelf a few visits ago.

‘It’s okay’ she thought to herself, she still could do this, she would just go around the shelf to the books. Alex glances at Maggie busy with her bag, gets up from her seat and walks towards the bookshelves as softly as she can.

Maggie deposits the bag on the chair and rummages through it, she places her work on the table and pulls out a list of books that the thought might help her with her assignment. Looking at the list she wanders through a pair of bookshelves and bumps into Alex.

Alex was so engrossed in the titles of the books in front of her that she doesn't notice Maggie

“Oops sorry, hey Alex”

Alex felt her blood go cold.

“Oh hi, Maggie” she gets out.’’

Please don’t look at the shelf. Please don’t look at the shelf. Alex thought to herself.

Maggie glances at the shelf.

Shit.

Maggie looks at the titles on the shelf and sees Alex beginning to look flushed, she looks back down at her list and at Alex again.

“Assignment?” Maggie asks.

“Yeah!” Alex replies quickly “They never end” she adds for good measures.

Maggie tilts her head and smiles at her flashing her dimples. Alex thinks she might die.

“See ya,” Maggie says walking away.

Alex turns her attention back to the shelf, picks out several promising titles before returning to the table to retrieve her bag and to check out the books at the library counter.

After a few restless nights, one too many google searches, Alex accepts the fact that she is gay, also, she has developed feelings for Maggie.

Three nights later an emotional coming out to Kara, and confessing about her crush Maggie, Alex feels better than she has ever been as if a weight has been lifted off her shoulders.

It is Netflix night and Kara is over at Alex’s room.

“Kara no come on” Alex grones

“Kara yes”

The two of them started roughhousing

“Give me back my phone”

‘’You should text her’’

The two sisters clamber over each other trying to reach Alex’s phone. Kara swings her arm backwards trying to avoid Alex.

Thunk

Kara’s arm went through the wall.

Kara looks at Alex wide-eye as Alex looks through the hole in the wall.

Maggie looks back at her flabbergasted, she wraps her arm around her body clutching her towel wrapped around her body, hair damp and her clothes laid out on her bed. The three women freeze. Awkward tension fills the air

“I um… I’m sorry Maggie’’ Alex stutters, flustered at the sight of Maggie.

“Cool, we should, um cover up the hole” Maggie answers weakly.

They stuck a piece of paper over the hole in a meagre attempt to fix it.

After kicking kara out of her room, an embarrassed red-face Alex went to sleep that night thinking about Maggie standing in front of her wearing nothing but a towel.

Maggie changes into her pyjamas and lies on her bed looking at the paper covering the hole in the wall. She falls asleep feeling flustered.

The next morning Maggie is awakened to the sound of light knocking against her wall.

“Hey, Maggie are you awake yet?” Alex asks
“Mm? Yeah, what’s up, Danvers?” Maggie replies.

“Sorry for the hole in the wall”

“Gee Danvers if you wanted to see me naked you could have just asked”

Maggie thinks she can hear Alex’s brain short circuits.

‘’I’m pulling your leg’’ Maggie teases.

Alex fidgets with the sheets on her bed, she wants to see her, she wants to touch her. Impulse she gets up walks out of her room and knocks on Maggie’s door. Maggie opens the door, wearing a bright yellow worn out shirt and shorts. Alex thinks she is beautiful.

‘’Go on a date with me’’ Alex blurts.

‘’Excuse me?’’ Maggie responds not believing her ears.

‘’Go on a date with me,’’ Alex repeats herself, ‘’I… have a crush on you…’’ she trails off ‘’if you want to’’ she adds quickly.

‘’I thought you were straight’’ Maggie says cautiously

‘’I’m not’’ Alex answers, ‘’do you want time to think about it?’’ Alex asks.

Maggie nods and Alex goes back to her room.

After pondering for a bit Maggie knocks on the wall and pokes at the paper. Alex pulls it away and they make eye contact.

“Yeah, I’ll go on a date with you.”

Alex’s beam could light up a thousand suns.