I questioned him about the bed. I could’ve sworn it was upstairs when this all started. An old metal-frame queen, it was there when we moved in. Like something you’d find in a grandparents’ basement. Saved for some kind of errant mattress for no one to sleep in. Had a sheet tied to top left post. We talked about throwing the whole thing away, but neither of us did. He said he couldn’t remember where it went. I don’t know how you lose track of a bed frame. Where a whole bed even goes.
Who owned the house before us?
I think it was vacant for a little over 11 years
The owners had people cleaning it that whole time
Yeah, but what do places like this even do when no ones in them
I took a breath and held it for about six seconds.
Hold the breath.
My eyes rinsed out glassy, maybe I could shift everything over a few feet. Or trick myself at least. Sometimes I have to remember what can actually move and what just seems to. I think I’m going to start sleeping in the western room on the second floor. It doesn’t shift as much. It’s smaller. Maybe that’s why, it’s a little forgotten. Maybe that’s why I connect to it. I put a small figurine in the middle of the room last week. It moved, but not by much and it stayed fairly centered. I could put the bed in the middle of the room and I think be safe. I watched it over the course of those days. Tuesday it moved a quarter inch to the northwest. Wednesday it moved a half an inch past its original position, eastern. Thursday hardly at all. It was a toy soldier that I found in the attic when we first moved in. Access has been cut off, but I remember a bunch of old children’s toys up there. If that hatch ever opens back up again, I’d like to go up and catalog everything. Box it up.
I read a book in grade school that talked about the body changing as we grow. Gaps closing, and everything growing. Stretching to accommodate the increased demands of a new body. It can be a painful process if done too fast. It’s up to nature to decided that, like most things we deal with, there’s no conscious input on our part. No one can ask for it to slow down or start, we can’t send a request. We control it, but we don’t. The history of it controls it more than anything else. This house is growing and changing. I’m only now seeing fragments of what it originally was for everyone else who lived here.
It’s like all of these things. We construct the tracks but we’re also stuck on the car. A weird self fulfilling game, like we got sucked into a cartoon.
Neither of us thought buying this house would be this much work. A solid investment and a step towards owning the dream you had in your head since you were young. Stray eye with a popsicle in hand, looking up to your parents, proud and vaulted up to a view of the horizon. They could pick the direction and fly there tomorrow. Vacation in Hawaii on a 6 figure income. It never seemed this hard, but what the hell did I know then. I was only a kid.
I believe there are lost rooms here. Places that are folded over like a lamination. Walls pushing into walls. Some would say disappeared, but more like ghosts buried in the bones of the walls. If you could peel away the layers, you’d find a history going back to the beginning of the house. There are rooms I remember when we first moved in that just aren’t anymore. But in their place are new opportunities and old memories. I thought I was dreaming at first. A little girl’s room from the 60s, a teenage boy’s from the 90s. One day some dolls, a crayon drawing on the wall, another some poster, Nirvana. It was fun at first. Like a kaleidoscope, never not interesting and always showing the house in new ways.
An absent mind is called to the first floor, leaving remnants of a days work strewn out on the carpet. One day they’re there, the next gone, like a thought right before sleep. I think I lost a chapter or two. Or maybe I’m not in a book.
I found a journal last night. I thought I heard a sound in the attic crawl space. I couldn’t see anything and as I was lifting myself out I caught a glint of the lock on its face. We didn’t see it before, but maybe it wasn’t there until now. I think it’s by the same woman who wrote the poem on the windowsill.
“Fairly light, and I call
from the doorway
There’s a hold, it’s
my hand to steady
But I’m already turned
and I can hear you
hum and hand on my shoulder.”
The first page was just a recipe.
(226g) unsalted butter, room temperature
(213g) brown sugar, packed
(198g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
(241g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
(99g) old-fashioned rolled oats
(85g) shredded coconut, unsweetened
(170g) chocolate chips
It is a she. She talks about something called the fairlight.
“It’s fucked up, but it goes right to the feeling like I’m going to be alone. He told me where we’d be in 5 years, but I have a hard time believing anything projected that far in the future. I have a hard time deciding what I want to eat later for dinner.
I feel a small amount of kinship to her. Even though I think she knows most of her problems are self created. Maybe if she talked to her husband more, or maybe they aren’t married yet. I mean, what does any of that even mean? They’re in a hotel room, but she just keeps bringing up a dream. And who even knows what she’s talking about. Last night I tried to remember my dream. It started with me and ended with a complete dissolution of the whole concept of me. I became a fish. What made sense in the moment loses all traction as soon as I open my eyes and shine a light on the scene. Giant fresnels on each side of the stage. Bright enough to blind you for a second so you can’t see the audience. And you’re just stuck in the bowl with the water draining out the hole in the bottom.
The fairlight. I think I’m starting to understand it now. It’s like the creep of the sun through a window. It’s a lantern. We’d be dead without it, but you still have trouble seeing anything when it’s right in your eye. It’s the only way the audience see’s you. Or maybe that’s not even it. Maybe it’s not a spotlight. Maybe it’s softer than that. But it does feel like the clarity you get when recalling a dream. Maybe there’s a way to see the actual world like that. Like a lamp that helps you sort through everything in life.
I once took a list of the pictures hung in the first floor bedroom.
-a woman and man smile at the camera
-a dog with a red wagon
-a vacation on the beach
(This whole thing seems staged, it’s not until here where we start to get to the real pictures.)
-eight bits of paper on a table each with something drawn on them. Four are either obscured by other bits or two blurry to tell what they are. The other four are as follows
-a hand holding an orange(it’s not colored but I just assume it’s an orange.)
-the back of a woman’s head
-what looks like the same dog that was with the wagon, but he now sits on a couch in the middle of a beach.
I used to draw when I was younger. The last few days I found a paint set with two colors and I’ve been trying to relearn how to see in that way. Making shapes with my right hand. I tried to remember what the tree looked like in my front yard. The branches pulling down into your face. My father refused to trim the tree, said it was like neutering Mother Nature. The only time he was staunchly pro-rights was when it involved greenery. Sometimes he jokes that we should just bury him in a park, I don’t think he’s joking. Maybe twenty years from now I’ll be writing the story of how I snuck into a park late at night and buried my fathers body, stole him straight out of the funeral procession. Wrapped in a blue cloth and slung over my shoulders, while my mothers busy deciding what color flower should be thrown on top before he’s buried and my aunt is busy flirting with the young mortuary assistant. I run as fast as I can, I’ve already planned it in advance,
We drove twenty hundred miles here. I don’t like lying, but I’ve been for the last month. As soon as we closed on the house, my chest lifted itself out of my body. If I let it, it’d pull me straight up into the air. I don’t care for the usual optimism. What’s the point when nothing stays still anyways, but I couldn’t help myself.
I’ll use a gender neutral name from this point forward to refer to the individual found on August 23rd. “Chuck” was discovered holding several items of note. Under the body was a legal pad of paper, contents to be disclosed after summary. In “Chuck’s” pockets were:
two matchbooks, one to a club on 32nd street called “HITT ME” and one to the library downtown on 4th street,
and an auriculate shaped arrow head, that appears to be a recreation made sometime in the last 15 years and most likely made from Wyoming granite.
The writing on the legal pad is as follows:
“He wrapped my hand as best as he could. There’s not much you can do. It looks so foreign. A hand I don’t recognize anymore. It could be anyone’s. Like a mirror trick it only just looks like mine, but as soon as I try to curl my fingers the whole fucking illusion dissipates. The lamination unfurls. I think my real hand is part of that lamination now. Maybe its 40 years in the past. I wonder if I’ll see it later. Or if the next people who open the doors to the house will find it some day. I imagine the kid of a young family stumbling upon it.
It happened faster than it normally has been. The shift is slower than you could normally see. Like watching the hour hand of a watch.
The house is laminated. I’m scrolling through nearly 100 years of living spaces, smashed picture frames, uncomfortable seating. It makes me question my own choices in the arrangement. The shrine that I built. I think I was able to hang two pictures, one of Mike and I and a joke one of his cousin from last Christmas. I never really liked him, but we don’t own many pictures. After that I couldn’t build the enthusiasm to pin up more. Push pins look fine on an apartment wall, but the walls we own, they demand cheap pressed wood pulp, glue and paint, mitered into a frame. It seems like I didn’t have much time before the weight of this house crashed through and paused my own.
I miss Mike.
I’m a ghost here