Saturday, November 30, 2013


Good evening, world. I'm trying to do this writing thing again.


There is a man in an old house. The house is dark, which makes it stand out among the other houses on that blurry and antiquated street. The man knows where he is, but not why he is here. He can smell his father's cologne in the air; he can almost hear the cries of "Happy Birthday" as his young ghost blows out candles that exist only in his memory. This place is full of stale melancholy. This place is a trap set for his spirit. But nonetheless, he is here. He continues.

Despite the darkness he knows every corner, every nook. He grew up here, in this rotting skeleton of a building. When it still shone with the light of day and the bright promise that only a young family with young children can hold in their still and inexperienced hands. Now, in the silence he can only conjure these phantoms as far as his closed eyes will let them live. The floorboards creak. His hands tremble slightly.

He takes heavy steps, through the old kitchen with its cracked and desolate tile and peeling wallpaper. He remembers a time when this place was the entire sphere of his knowledge, when his whole world tilted and turned on an invisible fulcrum that rested somewhere inside of these four walls. He knows he could still find that place if he looked but he dares not. The decomposition of those old cherished dreams would surely unnerve him even further.

Rounding the corner, we find our man descending a carpeted stairway. The torn, beat-up shag smells of dust and neglect. It's as though he can feel the house whispering to him, asking him how things came to be as they are now. Screaming at him, demanding to know how such hope can signify nothing. He doesn't have any answers. The stillness is broken only by his breathing, the only life in this truly lifeless place.

The man reaches the bottom of the steps, and with the right kind of eyes looks out into the gloomy shadows of the basement. Here his memory can see so many things, so many different events that had taken place. He marvels at the ease in which one's entire life ends up as just so much junk in a yard sale, and from there becomes meaningless and void. His heart aches. This place cries out to him, perhaps to display to him the piece of himself that he was forced to leave here and which has since been claimed by the silence and the dust and the fleeting, lonely echoes of whatever noises from outside manage to penetrate the pall of stillness that hangs over the property. The man knows that nothing that was once here ever truly escaped. Even those bits of junk and personal treasures that ended up scattered across the proverbial four points must have some imprint of his time spent here. A sort of material nostalgia.

He looks to the corner of the room, where there once sat a very large and very old wooden sofa on which so many of his childhood misconceptions became bleak, adult truths. His first kiss. His first time using cocaine. His first time making love.

These memories are like plumes of acrid smoke, wafting from some dreary, underground source up through the stuffy basement air and into his eyes. He can't remember how things got this way, how the horrifying question of a potentially ruined future became this mystifying and stagnant present. How all of his fears were eventually realized, in the most ridiculous ways.

This melancholy man remembers the days spent down here as a boy, flipping through basic cable channels on an ancient television set and simply existing without a thought as to why. Or a certain night as an older boy, still not yet a man, sitting in front of that same T.V. with all of his friends gathered around and finding out for the first time what it was to get high. Then he sees in his mind's eye himself just two years ago, with his aging father, tearing apart that old wooden sofa with a couple of sledgehammers because they weren't going to be able to get it upstairs in anything other than a million pieces and the bank needed the entire place empty in the next week.

Fear. Foreclosure. Separation. Drugs. Divorce. Death. Estrangement. Finally, now. The man is alone, and wonders how he came to be here.

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