October 10th
The House
by glorilis tavarez

So there's this house in your home town. But you never really see it until you see it. And once you see it you can't unsee it. You not only see it every time you pass by it but you also begin to get a sinking feeling every time. You don't really understand the purpose of the sinking feeling, but it gets worse every single time. So much worse. You eventually start to go out of your way to pass in front of the house. The sinking feeling keeps getting worse, and your heart starts beating so hard that you feel woozy in the head. To get rid of the symptoms, you have look away and keep it moving, but that stops working. Soon the sinking feeling and the blood rush and all that stuff just stays. It's always there. Sometimes it's better, sometimes it's worse, but always present.

You decide to never go to the house again. And you find yourself laughing. At first it is a small chortle but then it turns into loud belly laughs that seem to come from that sinking feeling in the pit of stomach. THAT'S NOT AN OPTION. That has never been an option. So you get into your car and you drive. You haven't stopped laughing by the way. You're laughing so much that you're crying and hyperventilating and you're not even sure where you're going. You're just laughing. Until you're not laughing anymore.

You're in the house. You're in the house. Holy shit, you're in the house. Someone lives in this house. This house wasn't abandoned. You never thought it was abandoned but you never thought anyone lived there either. Someone lives here. You look for them. You need to face them. You search the bottom floor and you find nothing. So you head up the stairs. It's the logical thing to do. You're in a strange house, but the most logical thing to do is to go up the stairs.

Once you're at the top of the stairs, you see a light. It's coming through the door that is ajar. And you walk quickly to get to it. You're almost running. You have to see what is behind that door. Your heart is beating so hard you can't hear anything. Just your heart. Are you even controlling your body right now?

You open the door, and there is a baby. Just a baby. A quiet helpless baby. And you pick it up and cradle it. And you shush it. And even though the baby isn't crying, you know the baby isn't well. So you try to calm it down. And bathe the baby, and change its clothes and diapers. Out of nowhere your breasts fill with milk. You just know that there's milk in your breasts so you feed the baby. And holy shit it hurts. It hurts so much. But the baby is eating. The baby was so hungry. You have to feed the baby. Until you feel your breast empty out, but the baby wants more. The baby is still hungry, so you switch breasts and oh man the pain. It doesn't get better.

You're enjoying this though, you're helping a baby! That sinking feeling is gone, you have found your purpose. And yeah it feels AWFUL, but you also feel like you're helping, like you're contributing to the wellbeing of this baby. You start to love the baby. You are proud of yourself for saving this baby. This baby would be nothing without me, you start to think. Time passes and the baby eats, but you're content. And then you look down and the baby is reading a newspaper.

You jump back. "I'm still hungry," the baby says in a deep post-pubescent voice, like way post-pubescent. Was the baby always this old? This looks like a full grown adult. But as you think that, you blink and you see a teenaged boy. You blink again, and there is a small boy. That sinking feeling is back. There is a baby on the floor. So you pick up the baby and let him drink.

Now you resent the baby. Every time you think, okay the baby has had enough and you get ready to leave, the sinking feeling returns, and by the time you reach the door of the bedroom, the baby is on the floor crying. You feel exhausted, you feel drained, you feel used. The breast feeding still hurts, but you're numb to it, every once in a while you wail. The baby doesn't like that.

The baby tells you that you're being a baby, that you're too much to deal with. That you're selfish. That you're imagining things. The baby calls you lazy. In between feedings he leaves. When he comes back and sets money on the table, until the money is stacked so high it begins to topple off in heaps. You have to celebrate the baby's hard work. You make the baby extravagant dinners and you clean the house for the baby. No food you make him will ever be good enough though. He is only satiated after a night of nursing.

Every once in a while, you remember that there is a life outside of this baby. You try to leave but you can't because as soon as you leave, the baby is back to being a baby. A defenseless baby. A tiny pathetic baby. After everything the baby had done for you? You can't leave the baby now. He is your baby, til death do you part.

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