Mae found studying the bricks more interesting and rewarding than her kitchen duties.
She came to know the hard and vertical landscape as well as she knew the backstreets of D.C. Each groove told a story, each chip her friend. The grey mortar spoke to her of duty in mournful yet assuring tones.
She snagged snippets of time under the pretense of “getting a bit of fresh air,” and, upon hearing an annoyed cry from inside, always felt torn from her explorations like a boy from play.
She had read the story up 18 bricks and across 37. Forcing herself to shuffle inside was becoming increasingly difficult.
The plot was thickening through the cracks, tension seeping through the pores, unpredictability frothing within the grooves. The vertical universe seemed to radiate, the energy pulling her as if into another dimension.
Aside from sharp, impatient criticisms, Mrs. Lewis never spoke to her. She said it was like talking to a wall.