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Casino Night

"No tie."

I laugh. It's the annual casino night at my college dorm. I'm dressed up more than usual - I'm wearing a blazer. Today it's more function than form, though.

The ticket taker isn't laughing, though.

Building 9 "Vines Cover the Windows"

On Wellington Street

“Most days, I try desperately to forget my childhood. There are tiny, nagging things that have settled just within the back of my mind, and no matter how hard I try they will not relent. Most of it is related to my original home, the one I was raised in. I pass it quite a but, and though it is vacant more often than not it is the exterior, choked by vines, that continues to keep it where it stands. It has become part of the landscape. But for me it will simply be my former home. I don't think many people live to see their homes turn into legends, but for me there is little I have gained from this. If anything, people who know the history of the place choose to avoid me when they can. To the rest, I can at least be some semblance of normal

My father and I lived in the home nearly twenty years ago. My dad got it cheaply, shortly after my mother passed away. I was born at the local hospital, and had plenty of friends. Yet I spent most of my time in my room on the bottom floor. Even back then the vines were thick on the home, and I can recall my room being bathed in green light even during the brightest days. I would hole myself up in my room for what felt like weeks, and during the summer that was likely the case. All that time I would spend just trying to stay out of the way of my father.

I kept my door closed most of the time, but it didn't always help. Late at night I would lay awake in my bed, the streetlamps lighting up the leafs of the vines. In the other room I would hear my father talking to someone, though there was never anyone there. It was never anything clear, but it was certainly his voice with breaks in conversation for someone else to speak. This would continue late into the night, and if I was lucky I would be asleep before he started crying.

I was not ashamed of my father, and I didn't think poorly of myself for him being like that. He would still take me to movies, to plays, and would even on occasion take me out to the woods for camping. The camping trips were the thing I most looked forward to. The house seemed to have a bad influence on him, and it was only when we were outside and far away from that building that he seemed to be himself. At times like that he could talk about my mom freely, and though some might think that as morbid, it was actually comforting. I loved my father, and losing him was something I have really never worked through.

As the years passed, he continued to get worse. At dinner he would insist that I set an extra place setting. The few times I refused he sent me to bed without dinner, though he would ultimately show up later with a small plate. Often we would just have a normal dinner, but sometimes my dad would suddenly get quiet, and the conversation would stop. He would just mumble the whole time, and I would have to grab his rapidly cooling plate and put it away so he could have it for lunch the next day.

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