7. Selling a childhood home
Include: dreamscape, convince, pioneer, genesis, cumulous, jump, mash, condition, erase, gold
The Flame – The Duality of Fire
The First Flame
i remember my lover i remember my lover and the way he made me feel in the field of our youth lying in the weeds as they blew in the breeze i remember my lover and the caress of my face at my childhood home a stolen kiss on the front porch as the lightning crackles on the horizon i remember my lover as we watch the cumulous dance through the sky as the sun sets to gold i remember my lover in the dreamscape of our fantasy the genesis of my heart the pioneer of my soul i cannot erase the love that I felt in my childhood home wrapped in the dust that sparkled in the light i cannot convince my heart to let this place go and yet the condition of my life can no longer feel the stroke of his finger can no longer taste the honeysuckle on my lips i remember my lover who is buried beneath my memories who is buried in the soil at my feet i mash my toes into the life giving earth and say goodbye to my lover the lover must rest the heart must beat to jump feet first into hope into life
The Last Flame
“I don’t want to let you go.”
I mean what I say, but I also know I don’t really have a choice.
I am met with silence.
“I shouldn’t have to convince you,” I say, trailing my finger along the broken banister. The dirt piles beneath my fingertip.
The room is empty and light flickers off the dust in the air. Two old rockers sit on each side of a picture window. If I look past them and into the green beyond the glass, I can just make out their movement. Back and forth. Grooves worn into the floor from years of repetition.
The floor is scarred, scratches dug deep. The boards, once stable, now groan in protest; the mycelium of my home. I lay down, the light shining across my face and stare at the ceiling. The fairy dust dancing before my eyes, glinting and twisting and turning.
Like my sister and I did. When we were children. When we ran naked down the stairs from our bath. When time meant nothing.
There is a patter from upstairs, like feet above my head.
“There you are!” I whisper, sitting up.
“Ready or not! Here I come!”
I dance up the stairs to the empty room. An old metal bed frame sits in the corner, the bed sunken in the center. The yellow wallpaper peeling. Like eyes, the pattern stares at me. Watching me, blaming me.
“It’s really not my fault,” I say.
The shadows on the paper twist, waiting to be released when the sun lowers from the sky. When the moon rises from the horizon. Then the women will crawl out from behind their bars and begin to play.
I will be gone by then.
The house creaks around me.
“I dream of you, you know.”
I sit at the edge of the broken bed and watch the women in the wallpaper.
“But I can’t let you pull me back in.”
In my periphery, I see the shadows move.
“I am told that someone will give me money for you, for this place, but really, that doesn’t seem fair.”
I listen for an answer and hear a low moan from the shingles above. From the broken holes in the roof. From the ancient, battered cover.
“No, not fair at all.”
The light has begun to change.
I walk down the stairs and find the containers.
Filled with a pungent odor.
As I begin to splash them, about the floors, into the corners. It runs like blood into the cracks and about my feet.
Again, I dance as I danced with my sister in the rain puddles.
When we were little.
And then I light the match.
I called this week “The Flame” for the duality of love and fire. The first lines of the prose ran through my mind as I drifted in a dreamlike state. The thought of selling a childhood home kept returning to my own childhood home, but also an image of a childhood home in disrepair and forgotten. The images from the movie “mother!” kept echoing through my vision; a house that is more than a house, a woman that is more than a woman. I kept returning to the story “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charolette Perkins Stetson and how she captured feminist issues of mental and physical health first published in 1892.
All of these came together in fleeting images and lines of prose that mixed and matched and left me a bit unsettled.
Original ideas were that it is often sad to sell childhood home… but what if that house is haunted or full of haunted memories. I often dream of houses in disrepair, and I am always working on them. Yes, I know this is about me, working to improve myself. The houses we dream of are ourselves. These houses I work on in my dreams are often, terrifyingly, haunted.
Another idea, my daughter’s, was what if the childhood home is the earth being sold to corporations and the highest bidders. Perhaps the buyers are extra terrestrials. That could go so many ways… maybe they are here to help us, or maybe they will treat us the way we treat farm animals.
I thought about rewriting the The Lorax, the ecological tale of selling our earth, our childhood home, and how to make that story new. How to twist and turn it.
But ultimately, I made my way here, dear reader.
If you liked this story, this poem, bits of lines here and there, I hope you will share it with someone you care about.
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The Yellow Wallpaper – original with illustrations
The Yellow Wallpaper – Gutenberg Project e-book
IMDB – mother! – If you start searching this movie without watching it first, there WILL be spoilers. It is a very powerful movie, a very misunderstood movie, a hated movie, and one of my favorite movies of all time.
“mother!” explained by director Darren Aronofsky – spoilers
More of my 52 weeks
What is the 52 week short story challenge?
Next Week’s Prompt
8. A wild animal loose in the house
Include: pregnant, community, logo, statistics, democracy, honesty, criminal, ankle, orange, comment