Through the Wall

Lewis is aware on this cool March day of the difference between how things look and their secret inwardness. He thinks this while he and his wife—he loves the sound of wife, how it feels both foreign and familiar—step from their apartment building and head toward the bus stop. Gail has a doctor’s appointment. Their first child-to-be. Routine prenatal visit. The streets of Rogers Park on this latish afternoon are alive with commotion. Heads bob on the sidewalks. Pedestrians press by—schools of fish—or wait at street corners for the stoplights to work through their rotations. And everywhere the faces are the same. Blank. Noncommittal. The world made of automatons. Which is a lie, of course. The deceptive surface too often mistaken for everything. But the truth? Everyone they pass is consumed by some wondrous or desperate interior story. Tragedies and joys and fantasies and love and regret and anger and desire. Each person burning with some private furnace of being.

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