Frustration and pain and love linger. They gather in hearts and minds and memories. They gather in shadows and crevices.
Families are like expectations: circular. Lingering emotions whisper in their ears, tell them what to see.
Responses are habitual.
Emotions are tangible, like heat or wind or a scent — they seep into the floor, the walls, the furniture. As you step into the house, a visitor, you will feel it: a miasma of sensation.
What you feel is me.
When the family fights and shouts, I slam doors, flip cupboard doors open, throw out clothing. Their emotions coalesce. They blame each other for my acts, for their acts.
They love. They’re tender. They understand something of pain. Relief mingles, mixes into the edges, slips between.
I grow, reshape. Lights flicker, circuit breakers spark and trip.
Using love, fingers are pointed.
“It’s just puberty.”
“You’re a bad mom.”
“You’ll understand when you grow up.”
I hide, I wait, motionless. They have suspicions, and I don’t want to be a target of their fear and anger — if there is movement in the house, it is not mine.
They circle each other, grow around and with and apart — eventually they move on. I am left alone, myself, a home of emotional detritus and harm and half forgotten loves.
I finally breathe easy.
No one visits. After time, I wonder: are their others like me? Others not like them?
Is it time to not be hidden?