People | I Survived

The Woman in the Wall: Answering the Knock in the Middle of the Night

A woman living alone has heard every story about the woman living alone. We constantly negotiate the knowledge of our vulnerability, both real and amplified by stories we’re told.

Rap-rap-rap-rap- Rap-rap-rap.

rap Boom-boom-boom-boom!If the knocker needs help, will they cry out? Are they high, drunk, sick? Are they circling the house, its abundant windows? Are they looking for home?

just close your eyes—NYPD Blue

Whoooo hasss my goooolden arrrrm

Whooo hasss my gooolden arm? thud-thud-thudthud-thudWhooo has my golden arm? itWhooo has my golden arm? Who . . . has . . . my . . . golden . . . arm?

How To Tell a Story & Other Essays,The voice is right in his ear: Who’s got my golden arm?


banging. myThwap! Thwap!

Hey, are you okay?—

Thwap! Thwap! Thwap!

Do you have a saw?

Do you have a hammer?

had to get in.She’s been alone for HOURSShe’s scared.

Lie still and it will be over soon.

Do you have a saw? Do you have a hammer? NYPD Blue—

I’ll be fine. I can have another. I’m walking. It was the wind

shouldthe LEGS!


But you didn’t look to see who it was? knock-knock—who’s there?—Better silly than stupid.

Womp womp womp.