I haven’t showered for a day and I smell like a bin. I couldn’t pinpoint a specific bin because they all vary depending on who you are and what’s inside of you. People do not think I am a bin because I lack a lid and inner lining. This is how I can comfortably frequent the sidewalk on scheduled rubbish collection days. I know I am not a bin because I have hands and feet and like watching Come Dine With Me in the afternoon. The only rubbish that enters my body is self-administered. I’d like to be someone who could eat an entire pizza. Physically I know this is probably an achievable feat but mentally I cannot escape the knowledge that this is a poor health move. I am holding myself back from greatness. My mum recently gave me new bath towels because I only had four to supply a household. My partner and I are the only people that live here. The towels are plush and the colour of Barney the Dinosaur’s skin. Whoever made them has thrown away his stomach or utilised it elsewhere. I think about the towels and tell my partner I always wanted to be on this show. He tells me he has always wanted to be on It’s Academic. We are too old now. We lie down in bed and hold hands, he allows us to kiss once and I stare out of the bedroom window for three hours.
Every Wednesday there are people walking home from Cap S. They are very loud and have recently taken up chanting. It is almost as if they are unaware anybody lives on this road, perhaps they think everyone who lives here is in a coma and if they are loud enough their voices can will us back to a conscious state. Sometimes I want to open my balcony window and scream at them, but this would make me look irrational and immature. In future, I am planning an upfront interaction or a note left on the fence. In the morning there is an empty beer can in the front garden, a souvenir from their trip. Each day I try to take up a creative endeavour. I write or embroider. Mainly I make up songs and sing them at an appropriate volume. Sometimes I sing them too loud so one of my neighbours will come and complain. I have not met them yet. They feel far away but at night I can hear water running through their pipes into a shower head and down over their body.
I am trying to improve my relationship. My partner has a full time job so he doesn’t have the time. I must make the effort to show I am committed and to ensure he will continue to bring home coffee periodically. My partner has made his first poached egg and despite its success we get pizza for dinner. The egg is left to rest on two slices of toasted bread, no blanket. When we get back a bug has died on the egg, and when cut in half a glossy yolk is revealed. Total success. I sit next to my partner at the dining table while he does work at home. His handwriting is not very neat even though he is an adult. When we first moved in we decided to eat all meals at the table, it was the only way to justify buying it. We only have two placemats which lets visitors know we are not planning on getting a housemate or having children in the near future. This also lets them know that there are a range of placemat-selling facilities nearby in case our circumstances suddenly change. I would recommend IKEA and then Freedom Furniture to experience subsequent regret and lament over the larger placemat range. The term table has become all-encompassing and meals are now consumed at the coffee table. The dinner table is a good storage space for loose items, an open draw that takes inspiration from the open sandwich concept. It is terribly messy and I avoid eye contact. It is important to always reference your inspiration to distance yourself from the thought of theft.
I have a fringe; this is something most people do not know about me. Most people on this Earth have not met me, so only a few are aware of my appearance. I tried to grow out my fringe this month but I started looking really shabby, like a dog struggling to see through its own hair, sight debilitated by its own body. I am trying to get a job so it’s important to not look like I am sabotaging my own senses. I have been inside my home for three days in a row. It is as if I have forgotten to go outside, that these walls are permeable via doorways. I breach the membrane via an exit (I consider placing exit and entry signage in eye-catching neon throughout the home should I ever forget I can leave) and see scaffolding on my building. My partner tells me the cool guy who lived on the top floor has moved out. My partner and I both referred to him as this prior to mutual discussion. He had the right pant length, a good amount of hair in the right shape. The name fit like his low cut doc martens. I’ve only seen him twice so some finer details are fabricated. Like the fabric of his denim jacket. I’ve never seen his eyes because he is always wearing sunglasses. I am short-sighted so I don’t know if we have ever made eye contact. How many people have I unknowingly made eye contact with? I wonder if he even has eyes. I will never know and this makes him mysterious. I wonder what the scaffolding is for.
My hands are dry because I can’t stop washing them. The back of my hand is filled with valleys and chasms, the stretched out brittle skin of a crème brulèe. Waiting to be cracked. I have been doing laundry and a fragment of one of the plush Barney towel is stuck to the rough flakes of skin. Our flesh bound together and unyielding. Physically, I am closer than ever to my dinosaur companion. You do not have to be supple to be young. I listen to “Cars” by Porches, I am thinking about summer and being somewhere else.
Words by Bryce Newton, Illustration by Taylor Brown.
‘I Am In Your House’ is a collaborative story by the creative writers of Pelican. It is published in weekly installments, every Sunday. Read more ‘I Am In Your House’ here.
If you would like to contribute, either as a writer or illustrator to ‘I Am In Your House’ contact the web editor (firstname.lastname@example.org).