29 Mar Angry Curtains by Sarah Towers
He never walks by. He could always walk by. I don’t forget that.
Behind the curtains, my mind runs his voice through my brain. This street is empty, and I am pale behind my curtains. He never walks by, but he’ll never see what’s in the house, he never walks by.
This space is mine. It sits in amber hues when the sun casts on the curtains. I sing loud, just for myself. Humming on the floor, on a cork yoga mat, the summer heat pulls something from me. I’m strung about, as if melting. I enjoy it.
I light up a joint around two. It’s a schedule I didn’t mean to create for myself.
I retired the smoke detectors about a month ago. It only felt fair. Why discriminate against one smoke when I structure my day over the worship of another? They were too sensitive, anyhow. I don’t like to surround myself with that energy.
The air smells of dried lavender and warm bananas. I let the fruit sit in a glass bowl on the counter. It is sweet but growing past tolerable. The smells mould together well though. I believe they call it a compliment.
There are ants in my apartment now. They are getting to my fruit. They’re carpenters. Big, black, and quick-paced. One bit me a few days ago. It got caught between my chest and the floor. I yelled at them for a while, but they never hear me. They never stop moving.
I breathe in the smoke, but it lingers like steam. I think it moved the curtains, so I let out a scream.
I pop the pills I’ve been told to take. It leads me to my favourite part of the day. When you look at a wall long enough, the paint begins to spin. You know it is not happening, but you still see it twist like heat rising off asphalt. It goes left first, then lags, stops, and starts again the other way. I fold into the centre, and stare up, as the rug sucks my skin in like a fibre.
I don’t feel my skin anymore, but I begin to hear him call my name. He speaks like the silent and intense presence of a lighthouse beam. I can almost see it.
There’s an itch on my shoulder but it just went away. I think I’ve felt that before, a while ago. I didn’t move to scratch it. Is that power or have my nerves turned to clay?
What if nobody hears your voice and only hears your words? What slimy, fluttery voice would he imagine me to speak in? My voice is like Velcro with the richness of molasses. It is a heavy voice, but a playful one. I say the word velvet and it shivers and I laugh. Imagine what unconscious pleasure my voice could bring. I don’t recall if he heard it. Such a shame. I speak beautifully.
A rustle once again, and I twist my head to find the curtains swaying. Like the ants that eat my skin, I yell at them to stop, but they keep moving.
I try to focus on the ceiling, but the shadows cross my eyes. A crack of light hits the floor, and I shudder at its sight. I love my smoke, but now it breaks in rays across the room. The curtains move in such a stirring way, you’d think they’re dancing like I once used to.
But I can’t move; I don’t have skin. The flooring grips, and my body sinks in. Melting like molasses into the cedar flooring, the ants come marching on me. They line themselves against the rays. It’s something new, and I don’t like it.
I try to reach for something to grab, but I end up on my knees. I don’t remember moving, but I can’t remember most things.
Did he say my name, and did I ask for his? Did I get my water? It’s getting dry, and I think I need some of it. I close my eyes and try to see him, and then I start to sing. I try, but stop, because they interrupt. Ridiculous, arrogant, curtains. They have the balls to move even though I put them in.
The sounds smother my breath. The light fractures and it stings. I think it’s starting to burn my stuff. This is why I don’t move things.
It’s their fault I can’t see, and I know they’re doing it on purpose. They want dancing, but I don’t move. I think I’ve found myself in a standstill.
On one side my curtains sway with a fury that’s passive, light, and windy. On the other, I have my army. I brought them fruit; they bring their devotion to me sweetly.
I stare at the curtains, and they stare at me, but I can’t tell how long it’s gone on. The more they move, the more they twist, but that’s their plan. They want me to second-guess. They want me to think I’m wrong.
A black line moves up the wall, and I know what it is but I can’t say it. It traces over four layers of paint.
Everything that was mine moves on, disappearing through a window once hidden.