Friday, 9 September 2011

The Dying House

Dear R,

I am sorry, but the house is dying. I hate to write this news to you when you are so far away but there is nothing I can do.

It started with the wall clock in the hall; it stopped a few days ago. When I opened up the back, intending to wind it up, it had fallen to bits in the inside. Like all the tension holding it together, all the purpose to follow the ticks with the tocks had just ended and the cogs and weights simply let go of each other. I put it in a box and tidied it away for you to see when you return. But that was just the start of it.

The doors fell off the kitchen cupboards. All at once in the night. I crept downstairs with a lamp in my hand, thinking it was a burglar. But there was no one, just the doors lying on the floor with their hinges and screws scattered all over. There was no reason for me to be frightened, not then, but something cold ran its fingers over me, and I ran upstairs and locked myself in the bathroom till morning. I wish you had been there then.

I tidied up the doors in the morning, stacked them neatly. The cupboards gaped their contents at me. They looked obscene, exposing themselves. There was a dead mouse at the bottom of the stairs, and another under the dining table. Did you put poison down? Sad creatures. I put them in the bin. They weighed so little.

When the cracks started to appear in the walls, I think that’s when I began to panic. The house was letting go, breathing out. A long exhale before death. I remember holding my grandmothers hand as she lay on her deathbed. There was slight squeeze on my fingers and then this long release of breath. It seemed she was breathing out from the depths of her lungs, traces of air taken in rom when she was a child still lingering there were now flying out out and letting her go. Her whole life in breath running away to find another life to fill.

The legs fell off the wardrobe and the rail collapsed inside, I found all our clothes lying in a heap, vomited out of the doors by the foot of the bed. I tried fixing the rail but nothing stuck. Nails seemed to be pushed out from the inside. The house is dying and will not be healed. The parts of our house are letting go of each other. Their fingers slipping and sliding away.

The cracks ventured up from the floors in every room, ivy traces tearing the plaster apart. The windows followed. Shattering from a point, like invisible bricks had been flung at them. I can press my ear against the panes and hear them shattering on and on. Dividing into tiny pieces barely held together. I wonder when they will let go and fall inwards? Exposing our house to the world.

The house is dying and there is nothing I can do. It is breathing out its last from the depths of its lungs and purging its secrets. The wallpaper unfurled from the bedroom walls and revealed scrawls made by children long ago. The floorboards sprung up and showed me love letters from a past affair here. All the secrets of this house are running for the door. I want to run with them. But I think I must stay. I think I must hold the hand of this house as it lies on its deathbed.

I hope you return soon. Our house is dying and I must stay and feel its last exhale. I am sorry.

Love ever,