When a Place is Too Many Things

Some places are things.


They are the air breathed in and out by a sad man who misses his life because he forgets it’s still being lived.


They are the mats of wisping hair, falling in troll hairdos off a dying dog’s coat, flying fairy trails throughout and between the forgotten walls.

The echoes of yells during internet calls with a wife working abroad. She is no longer living with you.

italian rolling hills from an upstairs window

A nagging tug at the base of your skull entreaties you to pull a cord and let the question unfurl….

Why do you still exist?

Some places are things.

And it is with the sensitivity of a girl who perhaps reads too much into things that I cannot resist these thoughts from taking up residence in my mind. The place finds its place in me, and I am trapped, suffocating—too weak to fortify myself and too much of a martyr to turn away.

I live in Claudio’s home and I breathe in and out the sadness that has been festering here for years. Stacks of old books and magazines fill each of the four unused rooms, excepting his own. Throughout the space are cabinets full of folded sheets and towels, bottles of shampoo and shower gel that wait half-empty, ancient kitchen appliances utensils, towers and towers of plateware.

On shelves of vanities are senseless quantities of baskets or bowls that hold jumbling grab-bags of aluminum and plastic pill housing, folding tubes of creams for rashes or sores, trial sizes vials of various unctions.

Framed photo collages cover the walls in the entryway, living room, and the house’s main thoroughfare that leads to yet another room housing the overflow of snapshots from a history I cannot piece together.

Some places are things.

A living history documenting the way time, for some people, doesn’t stop, but sometimes simply ceases to hold itself accountable to your manner of living. You wake up one day and your children are gone, your lover has left, a cat still waits by its food bowl but even your faithful dogs have left for better lands.

And with a shame that pride will not allow you to acknowledge, you get out of bed and open the door to let the dogs outside. It’s a force of habit—you know they’re already out there, waiting for you to come join them.

And you will make the coffee, sit to drink it with two slices of toast and a persimmon marmalade made in the days your wife still lived with you here, and then you will sit in a chair across from the sofa, which you’ve fashioned into a sort of desk for your computer. You will log into facebook, and quietly, without anybody realizing it but you, your day will begin.

Some places are things.

several empty blue-shaded bottles

My body, this house of myself, I would like to fortify against these sadnesses that seep out of the air and into my heart and hold me as a foggy-eyed prisoner.

I cannot even trust that these things I find and feel are true. Is it only judgment and imagination that lead me to believe that a house has turned itself into a living realm of dissatisfaction? Or is it some combination of intuition and over-sensitivity? Am I picking up on something real or am I—frankly—just melodramatic?

This house is the first stop on a journey to reset my life as a writer. I don’t know if I’m doing things right. I don’t really know what things I’m doing, really. I’ve made arrangements for a month of isolation—give or take a few little moments of social contact—and those days I’ve dedicated myself to fill with writing. It is the shell of a plan, and a tenuous one at best.

This is supposed to be the kickstarter to a new life. But I can hardly hear the engine running and I’m barely sure where the sound is coming from.

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