doorThe Other Side

by H.C. Kellogg

There are footsteps outside my door. Some thumping, some padding, some shuffling and others stomping to knock off snow and ice. Old men, college students, girls with chihuahuas and people who never put out their cigarettes even when they are inside. I pretend they don’t exist and lie in bed with the blanket pulled over my face. Like a corpse.

The people come and go to buy drugs from my roommate. My favorites only make the minimum necessary small talk and come with bills and leave with baggies without fanfare. My least favorites sit for up to an hour blasting loud, repetitive, irritating electronic music and talk about times in the past or future that they have or will “roll their face off.”

I am a hostage in my own house. A hostage to how-are-you-doings from strangers walking out of my bathroom. A hostage to boring stories told by idiots that my roommate has a commercial interest in keeping happy. A hostage to my doorbell ringing at two in the morning. When I answer it in my underwear its the same story, no he’s not here right now he’s banging some chick he met at a concert. No I can’t just weigh you out a baggie that’s his job not mine. No I don’t work here, this is just my apartment. This is just the place where I sleep and eat and shower and piss and shit and no, I don’t work here. I’m sorry I can’t help you out. It’s just two in the morning and I’d appreciate it if you left apartment, bro.

I’m lying under my blanket on a mattress on the floor trying not to think too much. The threads of the blanket are bad decisions I’ve made between going headfirst out of the womb and this moment. All tied to each other, one strand woven into the next. Living in an attic where the door doesn’t close and quiet is a forgotten word. With the blanket over my head the moisture from my breath is breathed in and out again over and over. It keeps me warm and that, at least, should count for something. 

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H.C. Kellogg says the word maybe more often than befits a man of action. He realizes it is a character flaw.
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