Intemperate Imaginings

I’d like to imagine myself as a house. Strange things lurk behind my door. Things are usually self-contained. Once in a while, things slip out. You can peep into the windows though I wouldn’t advise you to. I imagine that goes for most people. Things that stay inside, stay there for a reason –they’re simply too much for the outside world. We’ve built ourselves to conceal things. But would you like to see what’s inside me? The door’s open.

I hope you don’t mind the smell of cigarettes. Well, I hope you don’t mind the smoke either. The tenants have habits they’d like to quit. It’s a funny story. When one of our tenants was a boy, he begged his father to give up cigarettes. To him, it became a measure of love whether his father would. After years of haranguing him, the boy managed to help his father quit. He told me the other night that he never imagined he’d start smoking too. He said with some ambivalence, “Those anti-smoking ads aren’t wrong. But as a kid, I was naïve. I think I understand a little better now. Sometimes whatever you’re going through is too much. And if a cigarette can provide any relief in that moment, it becomes pretty tempting. I didn’t think too much about whatever my dad was going through when he smoked. To me it was just something he did.”

There’s some writing on the walls. I haven’t deciphered them yet. Have a look. I welcome the day I can leave my body. Oh, if you hear any violent sounds, don’t worry too much. We’ve got locks on his doors, and he’s been here for some time. Normally, he’s an all right person. But once a while, he escapes. A few times, he slipped out of the door and things turned quite ugly. Having talked to him a few times, I don’t think he can help those outbursts. This is what he said to me: “I know it’s not right. But it’s what I was taught. It’s what I learned from those around me. And when things slip out of my hands, I just default to that. There’s this idea I’ve been struggling with. Are we not just our parents’ flaws? Are those not the demons we have to fight every day? I’m not faulting my parents. I know this is entirely my problem as an adult. This is just my understanding… Inheritance is stronger than I’d like to admit.”

Well right here we could either go upstairs, or we can continue down. It gets pretty dark down there though. Maybe that can be for another time. There’s some sunlight upstairs. Can you see through the windows? I really wanted to replace those rose tints. They have a way of distorting things, and reality is usually all the more uglier when you see past them. I don’t think I can change them. They’re just the way they are. Then again, aren’t we all? Watch your step there. One of our tenants has a habit of digging. He’s a strange fellow who carries a shovel with him everywhere. As damaging as it is to the house’s integrity, it does make getting around a lot easier. You just have to watch out. You don’t want to fall into the wrong room.

If you follow me down this hole, we’ll arrive at the dining table. It’s a few floors down, but the fall is only a few seconds. That wasn’t too bad was it? Here, we’ll wait for the others. We let the tenants come out to eat so they’re not cooped up for too long. One of them gets a little… jittery. It’s probably best you leave after. After all, this is all a façade. This is all tailored to give us a form. I’d like to believe we’re all compartmentalized, but the truth is we’re the same person and if you believe that then this dissolves into something a little more frightening if you can you should get out now before everything dissolves and the locks are no more and the walls are melted into a homogenous blackness therein lies dark truths of me I am another side of the person I present I am violence and I am repressed anger and the urge to k-kkkk-k and dark darkness you should have left when you could have before you’re engulfed I am flesh I am teefff without skin and un-repenting for horrors that slink out the door the ttruthh es that aie me3t dis b4 I dsvlved en 2 dith I I I s-s-s-a-w-w-w dis side of me before. get out. Get out. GET OUT.

My skin is my cage. My cage is my house. I can only be me.