The house I lived in when I was twenty, sparse then, but now there are too many pieces of furniture and extra appliances cluttering up the rooms. I keep trying to rearrange them to make them fit but they don’t fit and I feel claustrophobic. I think, “There was enough before. I don’t need any more. There is nowhere for any of this to go.” There are no electrical sockets. I can’t breathe. The back gate is rattling.
A cottage I have never lived in and never been to but it feels familiar. I find a bedroom that shouldn’t have been there. There are two beds with stained pillows and faded candlewick bedspreads. A piano sits against one wall next to a barred and locked window. I open the piano but have forgotten how to play. My hands are frozen and I feel a creeping sense of dread.
My grandmother’s house, where I lived briefly as a child. I still know where everything is and the kitchen smells the same as it always did. I walk outside and the coal bunker in the small back yard is open. I lean against it and reach in through the door, feeling the black dust settling into the cracks in my skin.