The curtains are stained with orange juice from the year before. The kids decided to have it in the bed one night, and well you know what happened. A fight broke out and she spent an hour cleaning it up as usual.
She wakes up and finds it strange no one seems to be around. No yelling. She sighs with relief.
They always hang around the yard, talking about the latest football game. She pretends she cares but she’d rather be left to do her own things. She barely even has free time to have it spent in such a boring manner, yet no one seems to ask her what she would rather be doing. But one day, she decided it was all about her from now on. Has since left the family circle, and formed her own filled with dreams.
A voice yells out to her. She runs thinking something has happened. It’s her son, wanting her to play basketball.
“Oh, John just grab one of the neighbor boys! I’m in my heels, I can’t do that right now!”
“Okay, mom.” He sighs and carries on alone.
Sure enough, five minutes pass and she hears a shriek of a child. She runs hysterically, finding John lying in front of a car. The ball across the street as if it perfectly landed there right in front of a long sidewalk. But her focus was not on the house across the street, but rather John. His limp body once full of the grace of an angel has the devils steal his light she thinks. All because I couldn’t just watch him. Tears roll down her cheeks, but as she looks up to ask God why he took her baby boy, her heart begins to race.
A house, not any normal house lies across the street. One she has never seen before. The ironwork magnificent, protective, yet graceful. A lion’s head creates the steeple and his tail wraps around the cone shaped roof as if it is protecting the house.
She realizes something is watching her threw the window. Large iron doors that look as if they cannot be opened await. She wonders if she pulls on them, if they will even open. She looks down, and John is no longer there. She thinks maybe someone poisoned her, or perhaps her medication is making her hallucinate. Panic overtakes her body.The sweat pouring out of her anxious body causes her to feel sick. Her home is no longer there either now. The only house left is the iron house.
Desperation is kicking in. No car has been in sight. She starts to believe maybe she is in some kind of simulation but the thought exits her mind quickly. Too many tv shows she thinks. After a few hours, she takes the chance.
The ball is still lying there. And as she tries to pick it up, it just keeps rolling down the sidewalk. As if it is some trick to lure her or maybe it is a joke. She has no idea what to think or who would think of this sick game. She grabs the door and it opens with barely a pull.
“Someone there?”She asks gently.
There is no answer. She walks further, slowly, calmly, but ready to defend. She hears something. Some kind of motor, a quieter one, maybe a toy?
A little boy sits in the living room, smiling at her.
He doesn’t say anything. It is as if she is the first woman he has ever seen. He begins to cry. She hears feet running. It’s a man.
“Hey hunny! Why don’t you comfort him!”
“I, I, didn’t know it was my job.”she says.
“Well, that’s how it works. I pay the bills, you deal with this!”
“Okay, I get it.” She mumbles along.
He leaves. She sits down, realizing there some cigarettes. It’s weird though, they have a rather old looking package. She smells them, and they are fresh. Strange, she thinks. Lights one up. Stares at the smoke, as if she is waiting to wake up from a nightmare.
This isn’t real she thinks. But then she coughs. The taste is definitely there. She hates it.
She touches the child, and he cries. ”
He’s real. He is all real.”
Her husband walks in, “Hunny, are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m okay. I think I’m just hormonal.”
“Huh? Hunny you know we do not speak of these things. I just know.”
She looks at the living room again, realizing it now has a strange looking television. A box like structure of wood around it. She doesn’t get it. The furniture looks like it is art deco. She thinks maybe 50’s or 60’s era.
“Am I going backwards?”she says.
“What was that hunny!?”
“I’m off to work sweetheart. I’ll see you in a bit. Try to make something good for dinner.”
“Love you too.”
She panics as the door shuts. She is in neither heaven nor hell. She is in something but she doesn’t even know what. She thinks, okay I’ll make the most of it.
She has to make a dinner in a kitchen where she doesn’t even know. She has to act as if everything is okay or she thinks these people will definitely think I am crazy. Just hold out she thinks, maybe I am in a coma. Hmmm.
He comes home, kisses her on the cheek when she tries for the mouth.
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
“Let’s not be that way in front of the child.”
He enjoys her meal but wonders about the inspiration. It is all the sudden inventive for such a woman like her. He praises her but senses some kind of change. He doesn’t know if he will like it or not in the years to come, but he believes in fixing things forever.
She lays her head down to rest and thinks of the life she once had. Her own child. Her own husband. Tears roll down her cheeks quietly and no one knows they are even shed but herself. This pains her. She falls asleep trying to accept the reality. Trying to leave the pain behind.