housedemon

Samantha Parelli

I’m sorry I spoiled the book for you. It was my favorite book, if that excuses me. I’m thinking about you right now, as I sit in the kitchen with only the oven light on. There’s nothing to eat but lukewarm ramen, and the noodles feel flat and slimy in my mouth. Like swallowing a jellyfish, maybe. Or a few of those plastic lanyard strings everyone used to spin into chunky purple bracelets at summer camp. The other day, I realized that I didn’t remember what you looked like, and that scared me. When I tried to picture you on the couch with me, I could only conjure up two arms and a ghostlike torso. Your face was blurred over like they do with criminals on the news, and I couldn’t seem to un-blur it, no matter how I hard I tried. If you were here right now, you’d be just another housedemon slinking around past midnight. I don’t want another housedemon. There are already too many in my closet, grabbing at all of the clothes I never feel pretty in. Do you remember that mesh shirt I wore last summer, the one that you could see my nipples clean through? Well, I think they’ve conspired against that particular shirt because I found it in a translucent clump yesterday, knocked gracelessly off the hanger. If I’m recalling correctly, you didn’t like it either. When that stranger said I looked like a whore, you just stood dumbly by my side, your gaze transfixed on the invisible point where the sky disappears into the sidewalk. I tried to laugh the whole incident off, but I didn’t want ice cream after that. That was the night your brother pushed the Empire State Building puzzle off the table in your basement, and all the pieces scattered. All the pieces scattered and no one cared enough to fit them back together again, our collective apathy deer-eyed and silent. That was the night I realized that my entire body was made of mesh. I couldn’t stop the ghouls from slipping in and out through the infinite tiny holes. Since then, something big and evil has made a nest inside of me. When I’m showering late at night, I can almost feel it sleeping against my ribcage. Anyway, I’m still sorry about the book, but you really can’t blame me. The ending was just too gleefully unhappy.

© 2023 by Bitter Fruit Review