The house was a nonplace that they filled with their nonselves until one day it thought about taking them back. They would walk inside and feel the walls and hear the once-voices, that used to whisper through the drains, now shout down hallways. They carved out spaces and corners for themselves, plastering their earlobes against the constant assault but the house grew through and into and out of. They became realselves. They had something worth thinking now that there was no more silence to swim. They would wake up and say, "we could always leave..." but the always was never now and at least one of them wanted their corner forkeeps.
Once they had: lived different lives, breathed different air, seen different suns, fucked in different beds. But they had always known that those were not home and that someday they would wind up somewhere and that somewhere was here. The house called them. It forced them to contend with its inexplicable natures that were only wood and nail and occasionally water, when the pump wasn't broken and they didn't have to walk a mile to the well.
He had had a wife. Pregnant. There was a sonogram print in his hand when he saw those dark steps. He dropped it then. It never blew away and you could still see a dark corner peeking out of the dirt at night.
She had been a step-daughter. She had shouted her i'd rather nots but he had never been a good listener. She saw the house in her rearview mirror, just a glance and a beat. She never felt lost until she saw that roofline. So she followed her eyes and found a new not-home.
So many others, there shouldn't be room for them all, not with this sort of wide awake specter that filled each airlock; but there always was – more room, more space to feel suffocated by the crush of molecules that pushed up against spines whenever anyone laid down to sleep. And sleep was so often on their minds in that wakeful dwelling.
They had discarded their memories along a sort of path and now they were the sap that occasionally seeped from the ceiling beams. But mostly the house was silent on the matter of their previous lives.
One day there was an attic. They woke up one morning, not one of them remembering having slept yet all remembering waking and that need to move up. How does one move up in a sprawling house that only grows out? But their house had grown up for them and it desired their presence in its topmost regions.
So they pulled down a ladder that seemed solid for all of its ethereal smokiness and only squabbled for a short moment on who would go first until the youngest of them all, the one they thought maybe had been born here but they never said it out loud because that would make it real, she put a small foot on the bottommost rung and without a word began the ascent they all would not.
So they followed. The climb was over in a few steps for some; others told of decades of endless climbing, hope and less threatening to pull them off and down into those inky clouds that kissed their ankles.
They all agreed that there was no way they were still in the house.
But the house said no, they were still in her, didn't they know she was endless, hadn't they commented on her vastness just last night in their shared and forgotten dreams? She had tasted each one and decided they needed more of her in their narrow minds, that there was not enough space in there and once they were driven mad by the inescapable nature she presented to them, once they gave into this gift that only she could bestow, well maybe they would leave.
She really did want them to leave.
She hated to be alone.
There was no roof. Or the roof was the sky. Or the galaxies were housed in that glass shield and had somehow left their worlds to collapse inside their minds.
Or something like that.
They lay down. The old man who had arrived on a motorcycle, his arms indecipherable histories of less traveled roads, he took the first step into the floorless room and found he was sad he did not fall to his end, into the light and out of himself. He soon was lying face down on the air that he walked, hoping to be closer to the light, the glow that may or may not be the only thing left. They all followed suit, each in their own time, some falling before they halted, others catapulted up and so much closer to those unreachable stars, but each resting by the time their time was over.
A thousand years passed and the house fell into ruin. The house collapsed into itself and pulled them down with it. The house neverwas and they had dreamed up what they needed. They had died and the stairs were their Purgatorio. They are milkcartonfaces that will soon be found, never found, will rot in garbage dumps, will be welcomed back with hugs and kisses and too much sweetness. They were prisoners in a government experiment that failed beautifully, that succeeded miserably, that went down in all the history books, that was forgotten before it started.
I am one of them and I am telling you our story before we melt into nothing. I heard the story from my grandmother on dark nights when I couldn't sleep. I had a vision and was commanded to write upon threat of excommunication and a hellbound death. I am a breathing being behind a typewriter. I am a ghost who whispers into the ears of the young. I am a misplaced thread in the tapestry that hangs at the back of your memory.
is a California native who longs to flee her state for tumultuous climes. She holds an MFA from California Institute of the Arts and she is currently finishing her book, Alabama Crossing
, which explores the interplay between faith and sexuality in queer Christian youth in the Deep South. Laura spends her time searching for the consummate driving playlist and mourns the death of the mix tape. You can read her thoughts and essays on queerness, pop culture, and overall instability on her blog