Glass House

GLASS HOUSE

BY ABIGAIL PHIRI

*

Adapted from the poem Perfection

I run out of air at the small space spanning between my body and the corners of this cubical. Losing consciousness as a taste of peace and rest from gnawing eyes urging me to perform their favourite rendition of Frankenstein as they critique or praise or argue among themselves over who’s perception is the wiser. Simmer into the depths of my slumber over and over again from the poisonous gases borne of my own continuously brewing storms. Regaining consciousness to filtered noise. Screaming noise, laughing noise, chattering noise, clapping noise. Just noise.

I live in a glass house for all to watch with waiting eyes. To marvel over as part of a collection placed next to hard earned sports trophies and cherished academic achievement certificates. I know where all the unwanted ornaments go. The beautiful ceramic Labrador chipped its tooth and found itself at the bottom of a heavy-duty refuse bag. The Chinese umbrella with shadows of Mandarin texts let rain in and spent its years with the dust and cobwebs found in the attic. I know where broken things go. I know where faulty things go.

Crowds come and go the way autumn leaves, summer sails, winter withers and spring scales. I bend my neck and twist my head to a perfectly shaped crescent, fascinated by how fixated they all are for a moment. While they cheer and jerk in time to every microscopic movement, I watch too. I watch as others gather and share treats to savour in anticipation. I watch as others drag their picnic blankets across the floor as they disappear from my sight. With no mirror, I watch and mold my performances through their reactions. If only to see the smiles and laughter that finally painted permanent content. If only to see the frowns and disappointments that finally painted permanent contempt. If only… to know what it would take to free me.

Like when I wander into the secret vault underneath the glass house that I’ve dug. The depth of my slumber, where all my treasures, all my chipped teeth and rain-filled tears, are safe. Its quiet there, its dark and damp but it remains hidden away from mortal eyes, even my own. I live in a glass house where nothing can be kept sacred and still enjoyed. So I dig, I dig a hole big enough for each precious part of me and use the rocks I come across to break myself out.

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