Mum’s moving house today, she says the neighbourhood isn’t ideal any more: with all the changes in the last year I can’t begrudge her the choice to live elsewhere.

It’s still a sad event though leaving behind so many memories etched in the concrete walls and asphalt roads of my childhood: like the large mural I drew on the back garden wall. It was the stuff of legends’ budding four year old artistic legends. I remember mum’s face when she saw it, though I didn’t recognize it then, she had the same look every woman wears when she discovers something valued has been ruined by something loved: like when you tell your girlfriend her dress doesn’t make her look fat, but it looks better on a girl two dress sizes thinner. She loves you, but in that moment she could kill you for ruining her perfect outfit and image. Any ways back to the walls.

I was fascinated by walls pretty much like every other child on the block: we want to write on them, paint them, kick them for a good tantrum, use them as a goal post and most importantly we can’t help climbing them. The higher they are, the stronger our resolve to tackle the hurdle. I don’t know about your mum, but it drove mine insane.

“Don’t write on the walls!”

“Get down from that wall Alex.”

She would call in a stern voice, the frown on her face a perfect reflection of her impending wrath as she approached the garden door. “I will not have you painting anything funny on my walls Alex.”

I flash my best cheeky smile at her, you know the one that says I can hear you, but I’m still going to give it my best shot to do otherwise. Trust me I did do a lot otherwise, for starters the graffiti on the back garden fence you know the one that made me a legend, secretly I think mum adores it or she would have wiped it off a long time ago.

I am not that young toddler any-more; I’ve grown into a tidy looking teenager if I do say so myself. Now I have moved on unto something more intriguing, it’s called Point Scoring on Walls – PSW for short. Sounds like the game PS- play station, it’s a camouflage gets nosey people especially nosey adults like old Mrs Pinklenton (nosy biddy) off our backs. PSW is really simple, all you have to do is scale as many walls as possible and get as many girls as possible to second base with you by some wall. The higher the fence the higher your points likewise the hotter girl the higher your points. You got double points if the girl is a cute nerd, they were the most difficult to chat up. A leader board was drawn at the end of summer; the person with the highest point became champion. Obviously the game was flawed as there was no way of validating claims of getting to second base, but it didn’t stop my friends from trying, if anything it made them come up with terrible antics to support their stories. And I know what you’re thinking; yes I am still fascinated with walls.

The first time we played the game I scored thirteen miserly points, all for scaling walls. It sucked not having any points for getting to second base, my record became a running joke.

“Hey Alex, what’s your score on the ladies again? Oh I remember nothing! You scared of getting your heart broken,” he jeered in a voice meant to intimidate, but failing as it squeaked with a prepubescent high pitch.

I chuckled, I honestly didn’t like losing points, but I wasn’t ready to admit it.

“I might be scared of a broken heart, but my broken voice is real and birds dig that. Besides am not willing to kiss twenty sleazy lips just to score cheap points, I rather scale high walls something your stumpy legs can’t do.” I replied jumping off the fence in a swift move. Our friends hooted for a fight, I shrugged them off; I wasn’t interested.

The summer of my sixteenth birthday marked the end of my fascination with walls, funny because I didn’t see it coming: I always thought it would end the day my legs felt a strain from an attempt to scale a wall. Fate had other plans. It all started earlier in the school year when I met Leah, the perfect balance of feminine sassiness and beauty. I spent almost every minute with her, the guys hounded me for abandoning them, but I couldn’t help myself.

Fed up with my excuses the guys abducted me for a night out. It was the best fun ever, the sort that mum and Leah would definitely not approve. I really missed hanging out with the guys; there was no question about it Leah was going to have to chill about my friends. The thought of telling her that left me feeling as dreary as the grey industrial wall we rammed into. Oh did I forget to mention we stole well more like borrowed Harry’s dads car for a spin.

I guess the fence didn’t see us coming or else it would have gotten out of the way and from that line I guess you know we weren’t thinking straight at this point. We took his dads car out for a spin after a night out with friends, sadly it would prove to be the last fence built by human hands that I would have the pleasure of encountering ever again.

It wasn’t planned, I never expected it to happen but I suppose we had taken one too many bottles to see clearly. Today I mount fences made of dewy lightness and cloudy foundations. Looking down from here I find myself wondering how the story would have ended if I had taken an interest in something else.

I watch my mum as she lays flowers by the back garden wall beneath my graffiti, today she would be moving out. She wants to make a fresh start in a house without a wall to remind her of the son she lost to the fence. I pray her heart heals, I cry with her each time she weeps. She needs a fresh beginning the same as I have found in the fresh new dimension of afterlife.

Published by Chioma Nwafor