There Is Ticking In The Walls
today at 11:03 am
It started a few weeks ago. A tick-tick-tick. Steady and incessant in the wall of our bedroom. The sound is not from a clock nor is it the whirring of our ceiling fan. It is loudest at night; at least that is how it seems to me.
Barb hears it too. But she has a portable fan on her nightstand. The fan keeps her cool and as an added benefit drowns out the sound for her and the kitten at her hip. But I still hear the tick-tick-tick every night.
There’s more ticking in the walls.
We think it is coming from one of the air conditioning vents. It’s the vent that we relocated so it wouldn’t be obstructed by the dresser and the flat-screen TV.
So I unscrew the vent cover. It isn’t that easy to do. The hex screw heads are small and I don’t have a wrench that works with them. I find a pair of needle-nosed pliers. With those, I can grasp the screw heads and carefully turn them counter-clockwise to loosen them. I release both screws and take off the vent cover. I feel around but can’t detect any obstructions or any material in the duct that might be knocking and ticking. I can’t find a thing. But when I screw the vent back on there is blissful silence.
And then–it’s another night and I am awake at 4 a.m.
There’s still ticking in the walls.
I am imagining the possibilities. Is the noise something in the bowels of the HVAC system? Or something buried deeper under our house? Is that why this was the last unbuilt lot in this development of 300 houses? Did something keep other potential buyers away?
Perhaps the ticking is signifying not the past but the future. Maybe it’s a doomsday clock counting viral particles spreading through the atmosphere or measuring the micro degrees the planet is warming. At 4 a.m. it all seems possible.
In the light of the day I know it is all nonsense. The sunrise was magnificent this morning as I sped down the Tollway. Reds and oranges and dark grey clouds. I know the house can’t warn me of catastrophe. As long as we are careful, all will be well.
But why is there ticking in the walls?
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