Crumble and Fall

August 11, 2009
By Ramsey Sabbagh BRONZE, Moreland Hills, Ohio
Ramsey Sabbagh BRONZE, Moreland Hills, Ohio
2 articles 5 photos 0 comments

The sun always seemed to shine a little brighter; the wind always seemed to caress the grass with a tender touch. The house itself was grand, and laid its great shadow ahead of itself, ominously. I knew not why, but the very structure, although a desirous residence that compelled me to approach, at the same time, beseeched me to back away slowly. And in the act of passing by, it seemed almost sentient, more intelligent than I, for its heavyset windows watched over an eternity that I was only a small part of. In the second that passed, the house looked through me, scrutinized me, cleansed me, and now satisfied, left me once again alone. I walked on, unknowingly lacking something vital, the very thing that the house seemed to have acquired; yet I fail to name it. And at my departure, the almost unnoticed noble bird of prey atop the building flew off, promptly replaced by a stout raven. Its delicate black eyes trailed my movements as I walked on home.

The thing about living in one place is that the location of your residence won’t change. That means that the shortest route to school was always the same route, in my case the one that passed the house. I simply call it the house, because I know not of any residents (nor seek to inquire of such), and names can only harness so much; this house may exceed the reach of a mere name. Its aura gave a sense of imminent relief, as well as an astonishingly dense mirth when one becomes absorbed in observing its features. But although happy, it almost seemed numbing. Like a mosquito, maybe the house just numbed my soul with euphoria, only to reach in and steal something worthy of being contrasted to blood. Nevertheless, no matter the pain of removal, life is always better without a thorn in one’s foot. Whatever the house was doing, however ominous, made me feel better. As I observed my own features in the mirror, I struck upon my eyes, and found them to be just a little lighter. Though insignificant, I was unsettled, and immediately the soft swirling blackness within the raven’s eyes stung back at my mind. I let go of the image, only to notice that upon being this disturbed, my eyes then appeared to be just as dark as they were this morning. I must have imagined the entire occurrence.

Upon passing by the house again, I could not resist indulging myself in reviewing its features one more time. Whosoever built the house must have been an artist at heart. As I ran my eyes up its arches and panes, I felt its subduing effects settle in. The sudden overwhelming tranquility was utterly satisfying; I wanted to laugh out loud. Eventually, as the effects wore off, I approached the house, only to find the noble hawk perched atop the building again. A raven is often sighted, and has naturally black eyes. But hawks have black pupils with lighter colors emphasizing the minute black holes centered in their eyes. Nevertheless, when the hawk met my gaze, I noticed that its entire eyes were piercing black. It watched me with an intensity that made my own head hurt, and my heart tremble. It was looking for something, something now gone. Upon that, the hawk yet again flew away, to have its perch replaced by a raven, perhaps the same one. The raven proved to be of a much more accepting character, a kind doorman that permitted my advance. I could only imagine what would have happened if I did not pass the hawk’s testing gaze. The raven trailed my movements, as I followed the appearance of an oddly attractive scent coming from within the house. Though compelled to retreat, to let it be, I knew I had to walk up to the house, at least to its porch. Everything was immaculate, nothing was out of place: there was not a broken blade of grass, nor was there a splinter from the house’s the aged wood. The first step to the porch was obviously endearing, for it was low and permitted me to shinny up the stairs with utmost facility. No blotches, no leaves, no mud, nor dirt. I left no footprints. It was perfection to an extreme that exceeded levels achievable by humanity. But unmistakably, human involvement might as well have been scarce in this endeavor.

I faced the ominous white door, scoured it, but its blank expression of distaste towards my obtrusiveness seemed to be a minor deterrent. I pressed against it, and strangely enough it gave way. What I saw there was the quintessence of falsehood. The house’s inside deceived its alleged perfection, and at glancing at the colossal damage to the interior I found rotting floorboards, splintered chairs and furniture, and that the initially sweet and endearing smell was just the pungent smell of wet wood, a massacre of what was once a home. But most disturbing was the only remaining pure white wall, opposite to the door, reading in perfect black cursive, “Smell sweetly, touch tenderly, see simply, and all is perfect. But smell strongly, touch tumultuously, see sharply, and all that you see, touch, and smell will crumble and fall”. Upon reading this, I entered, and decided that I would do all that the wall dictated not to. Up to this point all of the house’s perfection was discounted, but that of the centered wall, with clean white paint and beautiful calligraphy inscribed upon it. As I rummaged through the rooms, trying to find a reason for this devastation, I ended up being at the opposite end of the house, and turned sharply to be confronted by the other side of that very same wall, which was now dirty and true to the anathematic behavior of the house, for scrawled in broken lettering upon it was, “An overfilled cup will spill, an overburdened pillar will break. Shall I drink more of you soul’s afflictions, I shall become the afflicted”.

I understood now that the house stood with pride, yet abducted the very things that weighed down my mind across the years, and converted it, somehow, to a physical encumbrance. The thought that a building held consciousness of sorts did what it would to anyone; it proved to be a heavy impediment on my mindset. Upon leaving the house, it held true to its words scrawled upon the wall, and drained my burdened mind, became the afflicted, then crumbled and fell with a great groan as the rotting interior gave in. As I ran, barely escaping the falling house, I did not immediately turn back, but instead I felt the burdened black eyes of the perfect hawk, the true intelligent candidate for the building’s previous faultlessness, boring into the back of my head. Nevertheless, it took little effort to sense its eyes give up their roost from my skull. I then turned to see a hawk with golden eyes, lying dead alongside a raven, both of them on what used to be a roof, afflicted, crumbled, and fallen.

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