Epic Toy Sale.
Free admission, lots upstairs, more rooms at the back.
With no warning, my childhood home has become a museum of my life. Maybe I should offer tours: Look, there’s the dress I wore to the senior year homecoming dance; this is my ballet Barbie with all of her bendy joints, the one I thought was so cool that she always had to be the center of attention; to your left is one of the many miniature tea sets I collected as a kid, and that bin on the floor holds every snowman I gifted to my dad. How sentimental ordinary objects become once they’ve been touched by human love.
So I go on, wandering from room to room, using the “view as” setting on the timeline of my youth. An outsider with a useless overflow of insight.
People are milling about; strangers, invaders, poking and pawing and perusing. Purchasing. Do they know they’re in my home? Do they sense the memories that forever echo in the walls? Can they even see me? Am I dead? I wonder because I can’t seem to feel anything at all.
A pile of clothes, a box of hats. I pick up an old worn baseball cap advertising Ruth’s Garage. I turn it over and gently brush my fingertips across the words hidden in faded Sharpie on the brim: COACH MONTHIE.
And then suddenly, everything. Like I’ve been paper cut in the same spot over and over again; some small nicks, some so deep they create a chasm I could jump into. Every time, they are allowed to heal just enough for me to forget the precise amount they hurt. To go numb until I’m sliced again, and in that moment, I can feel the scar from every cut there’s ever been.
I have not bled out, how? I want to scream “KILL ME ALREADY” but I don’t know where to find my voice. Instead I lay face down on the floor.
The antagonist has driven me further and further backwards over a prolonged span of time, towards something I don’t want to face. Along the way I have grabbed onto small threads of light striped with rage, dragged and willed myself forward every inch that I can, before inevitably losing more ground. Each moment is suspense, my feet desperately searching for the unknown edge, my body tense and wondering… is this when I will finally fall?
It won’t end until I do. Have I known that all along? Every day will be an open door, welcoming the nightmare; another chance to lose another inch, until every inch is gone.
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