Who Are Lonely, You '

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the heartbeat in the walls “They’re lonely, you know,” her grandma informs Juno slyly one early Sunday morning as she slips into her gram’s room for the fourth time that week. The lighting of the room is dim, a warm golden cast from lamplight and glow-in-the-dark stick-on stars. Juno’s blanket is around her shoulders like a cape, red and fluffy and dragging against the scarred floor, and her grandmother’s quick to follow the fashion statement, wrapping her own around her frail, curled figure. She knots the two trailing ends at the chest, ensuring her costume complete. It will not fall. Gram is smart that way, Juno thinks with no small amount of awe. “Who’s lonely?” she whispers back, crawling onto the queen bed into the mass of quilts…show more content…
Gram smells of Cuban cigars and dried flowers and pen ink. She smells a bit like home. Gram leans over Juno to press her ear against the side of the wall, allowing her eyes—warm, always warm, and chocolatey brown—to drift shut. Her multiple scarves, reds and blue and greens, begin to slip off her fragile form in waves of fabric. Why she wears them to bed, Juno will never know. The cape stays. “See? I can hear them clear as day.” And Gram laughs, a gasping, belly laugh that shakes the bed frame. “Yes, they’re very funny, hear that? Come on—listen, listen.” Juno is very curious now; the adults never let her join in on anything--she’s always being left out of conversations. But not, apparently, this time. She scoots until their shoulders bump, the two of them practically nose-to-nose, and she puts her ear to the wall. There is nothing. Then. Knock, knock. Knock, knock, knock, says the wall, and Juno springs away from it in a flurry of motion, practically catapulting herself off the bed with a trembling scream just on the tip of her tongue. She trips over her trusty blanket during her daring escape—betrayal—and then she’s tumbling to the thick carpeted floor in a whirl of dark hair and blood red. “Ow,” she confesses, surprised. Gram is laughing at Juno, of course. Gram is often mean that way. “Don’t be like that,” she says, wagging a jingling finger. “They’re just being friendly,

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