Place to hide

December 1, 2010
Monsters outside this home at times seem to be worse than those inside. Loneliness is the creature that drags me to the front door. Hope and Doubt work in unison to keep me on the enclosed patio and not an extra step in either direction. Tall walls of the house cast a shadow in the corner by the dark brown entrance even when the sun is high and bright. As I touch my finger to the hard plastic of the door bell I not only hear the button and spring scratch the inside of their casing but the deep chime stretch into all the rooms of the structure. My gaze goes straight down to my feet as I feel other eyes look to me from all directions, from all the windows, all the openings in the house. I do not dare to look up and only focus on the words under my feet, reading over and over again, “Welcome home.” “Welcome home, Welcome home, Welcome home.” Welcome back to your false sense of security I whisper as though it is the secret password to enter.
Holding my breath to clear the air and listen to sounds, the approaching footsteps are followed by door handle springs that seem to scream and the gasp of the wood door as it releases its tight fit to the house. “Well hello Lexi Loo, come in come in”. Stepping over the familiar front step I am lead into an alternate world where no one else can reach me. I take in the comforting smell, filling empty space below my eyes and letting my lungs swell. All shoes have the same dull drag against the wood floor. Lights are almost always off, the amount of sun the windows let in from the back yard can tell you who else is home.
To the left, where the sun light does not seem to reach, is the carpeted hall that leads me to my hiding place. This room is where I stay for hours at a time. From what wall space is visible I can see the dark blue paint one could imagine was so carefully lathered across the walls just to be covered up by shelves, postures, drawings, signs, and furniture. When I first enter alone I am filled with curiosity, going straight to the shelves filled with memorabilia I can’t help but snoop. Picking up familiar figurines that I have held a dozen times I smooth the dust off nick-knacks ranging from crosses, to south park characters, bottle caps, broken jewelry and old creations from ceramics 1-2. Even as I snoop I do this delicately, this is not my place to make a sound, and not my place to manipulate. I tip-toe around the room as though the air around me is easy to disturb. After I get my fill of my surroundings I slip politely onto the “guest” futon, once again holding my heavy breathing I am always listening for him. In the echoes throughout the house I can only identify the faint swish of clothes in the washer just across the hall. Behind my futon is a number of questionable art hanging from the walls. Drawings I can assume were a gift from friends made especially for this room and controversial pages torn from pop culture catalogs. By the time I hear the pattern of his footsteps down the hall, harmonizing with the jangle of his key chain against his side, my eyes get as far away from the door as they can. I am not looking at the door I wasn’t waiting for you, I didn’t even hear you coming. I pour myself into my surroundings to focus more on where I am then why I am there.
I am there for care. In this room I am embraced, held and wanted. This is an escape. It is the only place he will show this kind of care. Of course no one can see him hold me. As he stretches his arms around me my arms curl in and I can feel them press against my ribs. My cheek is compressed against his shirt fabric and puerile worries such as face makeup don’t even cross my mind. Inching towards our safety net, surrounded with a thin basic metal black frame, the worn mattress itself comes right above my knee with the frame about stomach high. The head of the bed starts inside the closet, blocking view of the door. The walls of the closet are clustered with scribbles of sharpie. Small talk, old inside jokes, crude drawings, and love notes, not just from me, leave almost no space remaining. It would take more than an hour to read every signing. I cuddle onto my side and slip under a fluffy comforter, with my face in my pillow I can lay and smell that comfortable home smell for an inappropriate amount of time. We then fall into that well known and unsatisfying, half sleep. I know I cannot let my mind drift too far in a place that I am not truly safe.
Hours and hours of time pass by of being held, the only sounds that are heard are the vibrations of the phone on the shelf above, casting a blinding light over our faces and the sound of his fingers fumbling aloft to turn it off. Almost every visit concludes with the quick motion of time realization. Scooting off the edge of the bed in a lazy motion I allow my toes to touch the soft carpet. Dragging my feet across the clean floor, occasionally kicking a misplaced shoe or a favorite game controller, I reach the other side of the room in a few strides. The “guest” futon is down by my knee requiring me to bend further than my wake up headache wants to allow me. After looking at the time I head towards the bedroom door with the intension of making myself look untouched before I leave.
As I reach the frame, I look to my left which has a clear view into the master bedroom, and realize mamma is home. I slip to the bathroom across the hall, the winter wonderland of our enchanted world, which has the full tub, toilet and sink. The beige tile floor as well as toilet seat and counter are ice cold sending shivers through your limbs. Warmth will scarcely ever be found here. The walls are brown and the shelf across the toilet is empty for the most part excluding a few books I have always been tempted to read. By the time I walk outside the bathroom he’s standing motionless, phone in hand, ready for our goodbye. Once again I walk through the dimly lit hallway, no hands being held, no eye contact, no conversation, just an escort. Our hallway leads back into the sun lit center of the house and out the front door. Expected to forget where I have been, I am back in my world again.





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