Wednesday, November 30, 2011

You Can't Do It.

I've thought about my life in these few days I've been home--a trip meant only to be a precious four days, but through mishaps of my own and the climate's, expensively extending to an exceedingly lovely and relaxing full week--and I realized that I've never been told the words "You can't do it."

I'm sure I've been told that for things that I shouldn't do, like drinking and driving or going out super late at night with a bunch of friends on a school night back when I was in high school. But for the more important things in life, I'm don't think I've ever been told that I couldn't do something.

This occurred to me as I told my mom my plans about to travel in Australia next year. I told her I didn't want to go to graduate school right away, that I wanted to take (at least) a year off, that I was too burnt out to even want to finish this quarter, let alone another two years of serious professional schooling. The idea of having to attend classes makes me want to cry or throw up or both. Probably both. I really want to go to grad school, really I do. This isn't some thing I'm like "Yeah... sure, I'll do it," and never really get around to it, like coffee dates with people I just don't really care about anymore. It's a goal of mine to one day be Chelsey, M.A., at least before I die, but right now, the idea of it just isn't feasible.

I've always tried to do the "right" thing. You and I both know I've had my slip-ups and I'm not perfect, but I got pretty much straight A's the entirety of my existence in the grades K-12; I went right away to a good school on full scholarship with a specific career plan in mind. I (barely) drank before I was 21. I'm not a druggie, I haven't gotten knocked up, and I didn't join a cult or kill someone. In essence, I've done what's expected of me, what's proper, what's correct my whole life. At times I think what has that gotten me? but I know that I'd be a hell of a lot worse off if I hadn't. Because I have done what's right, I now have the freedom to what's (in a sense) "wrong." So moving to Australia for a year isn't my family's ideal of what should be coming next in my life, as my brother so lovingly reminds me that my degree is a waste and I'm a hobo, but it feels right to me.

And though I know that deep down they're  scared and terrified that I'm completely mucking up my life, they never told me I couldn't do it. They gave me their apprehensions and misgivings and opinions, but never once told me no or that it was an impossibility or that I was incapable of making this happen. This made me realize that my whole life it's been like that.

This thought makes me both elated and saddened at the same time. I'm elated because it shows the character of the people who I have made important in my life. I wonder if anyone else has had the unconditional support that I have had. From acquaintances to teachers to friends to my family, I've always received a ton of encouragement on anything I've wanted to do--from choosing extracurricular activities to whatever path I choose for my future. It's such a breathtakingly overwhelmingly beautiful realization that the idea has captured my attention all break. I have people who support me no matter what.

However, it makes me sad because it makes me think what the fuck have I done with that support? There are people out there who, by my age, have done so many amazing things, changing lives and creating a better world, and what have I done? What do I have to show for 21 years on this earth? As I write this, my rational part of my brain floods my senses with responses--the relationships you've cultivated, the experiences you have had, the goals you have accomplished. I do attend a major university on full scholarship in an economy where that is so rare I should kiss every single person in the financial aid department at least once a day, for crying out loud. But at the same time, I think... I haven't really done anything special.

This is going to sound cocky, but I can only be honest. Many teachers in my past have told me I'm going to do great things with my life. I used to think Hells yes I am. I'm going to blow this world apart with how much awesomeness courses through my veins, never out loud of course. But as time goes on, I try to convince myself that it's not true, that I'm content with not being special, that I'm happy with being regular. Why not be regular? Pretty much everyone in my life is regular, for the most part. No one's cured cancer or written a bestselling book or climbed Mt. Everest. We're all a bunch of regular people figuring out this thing called life. But the truth is, I want to be special. I want to be so goddamn special and significant it's hard to stand me.

And I want to begin that journey now. I have no idea what it looks like, but I'm formulating hypotheses, visualizing what that looks like in a daily manner, brainstorming different ways of accomplishing the things that make me happy. It starts with finishing another book. It starts with sitting down to write every day. It starts with applying for that visa. It starts with this blog.

And I know I can do it. You've all told me I could. There will one day be people who tell me I can't and it will crush me to no end. I'll have to pick myself back up, but I know I won't be alone. God has continued to show me who the people are in my life that I can trust to see me on the ground and help me up.

If you've been told you can't, it's a lie. You can. Find out what it starts with, even if it's simply taking another breath. And if you need help, there are people who won't leave you in your fight. But remember most of all, you can. You can. You can. You can. You can. You can. You can. You can. You can. You can. You can. You can. You can. You can. You can. You can. You can. You can. You can. You can. You can. You can. You can. You can. You can. You can. You can. You can. You can. You can. You can. You can. You can. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Return of Randomness and Responses to Gratitude

I'm back. For better or for worse, the idea of returning to personal blogging has been on my mind lately. Different things have sparked ideas in my mind to write about, to share with you here. So here I am in the middle of a huge article I need to get done and all the stuff (fun and the not-so fun) that will be happening this weekend, there's been something on my mind I wanted to share with you guys.

Yesterday during my Industrial Psychology class, our professor had us take some time to write down three things we were grateful for, talk with a partner about a positive experience you'd had in the last twenty-four hours, and write a real or imaginary email to say thank you to someone. I didn't share this with anyone in the class. My normal partner wasn't there and everyone around me had friends. It wasn't something I minded because I do like to reflect in a more internal manner.

The three things I wrote down were these:
1. I am grateful for my mom, who likes all the things I like so we can talk about them for hours.
2. I am grateful for not having to go through the whole EEG experiment.
3. I am grateful for sleep, three meals, and a good night to look forward to.

The positive experience I would have shared was the fact that I didn't go through with the EEG experiment. It was supposed to take two hours of my time and in fact only ended up taking a half an hour because the game I was supposed to play crashed. I did have to get my hair nasty soaked though, but didn't have to sit with it for more than 20 minutes after I was released.
Honestly, it's kind of sad that was my positive experience but it gave me  more time to get the things I needed to get done for that day completed and it was really helpful. I left the experiment thanking God for this extra time and indeed I put it to good use.

The email I couldn't necessarily do because I don't have a smart phone nor do I bring my laptop to class. So I decided to send a simple text. I wrote "Thanks for everything you do for me." I couldn't decide who to send it to. My mom would be the obvious choice, but so many names went through my head I decided to send it to all of them. Now, there are those of you who didn't get the text that should have, but I only have so many people I can send a single message to and not a lot of time in class to keep it going and some of you are in a different country. Also my phone was dying. Not great excuses, but I sent my gratitude to those who I knew I needed to send it to in that moment. And  yes, your special thank you was a mass text, but... I couldn't choose and I didn't want to. Because each of you are significant to me and each of you deserve to hear it.
The responses I got back were amazing. There were some that made me tear up, some that surprised me, and some that made me laugh.
A mom who is not my own mom, sent back a message saying that I'm their second daughter and that they love me. It's nice to know that. I actually have two other moms besides my own. I call them and their spouses Mom and Dad. I always feel a little weird doing that. I mean, I love them like my own parents, but they are someone else's parents, and I'm not trying to fill that role. This weekend I came upon an event in my other family that I didn't know if I should be there for as it was a very personal family event. But the entire family included me in it in a way that really touched my heart and eased my worry about intruding on something so personal. I really appreciated it and it meant more to me than any words could say.
My actual mom had been having a bad day that day and the message was really encouraging to her. I always love to send my mom a little Hello or an I love you because it makes me happy to do that. I talk or text my mom every day. I hope that continues forever. Or at least until we can communicate via technological ESP or something. She is everything to me and I love her dearly. I would have sent one to my brother, but he's still phoneless since I washed his phone in my shorts. But yeah, he would have gotten one.
My aunt, who I haven't seen all quarter, wished she could give me a hug in that moment. She knows I've been really stressed and busy this quarter and it's why I haven't seen her already. When I get stressed, I become really introverted and isolated. It's not the best thing, I know, but it's what I do. It's nice to know that, even when I get that way and stop talking to people, they'll still welcome me back with open arms. It's that kind of love that really impresses me.
Of course, the best friend sent me something that made me smile and feel good about myself. It's one thing I find so beautiful about her and our friendship. I've had a lot of friends and best friends in my years and until this lady, I've never felt something so reciprocal. I don't worry about the give and take balance of our relationship, something I worry about constantly with others, because I know she loves me as much as I love her and that she would do as much for me as I would for her. Maybe it's weird to judge a friendship on the equality of it, but we're so equal in almost every way that it's one of the most amazing feelings I've ever experienced. When we became best friends, something inside my heart shifted into place and I felt a calm. This is a relationship I'll have forever because I know it's something we'll both fight for for forever. (For for forever made me laugh.)
There was one particular one that surprised me the most sent by a friend who I actually didn't really know I meant that much to. We're very different, this friend and I, and we go in and out of each other's lives sporadically. However, whenever I am with this person, I always have an amazing time and whenever I talk to this person about deeper things, they always leave me with something to think about. They are truly an amazing person and I am excited to see where they go in life. I hope I am still in a position to do that as time goes on. I treasure this person's friendship, more than most of the friendships I have, because of the limited amount of time we see each other and because of how I feel when I'm with them. They told me they loved me and it shocked me because I just never thought I meant that much. It's not something they say all the time and the fact that they said it to me really touched me. It's something I'll hold onto for quite some time because I'm not sure how much time I have left with them.

These aren't all of them and I don't want to share the details of each response I got, but I will share one with you because it's so classic and so very me and my roommate. In response to my sincere heartfelt mass text of gratitude, Katie responded as such:
"I don't think I can do dinner. We're stuck in our lab and probs won't be done for awhile."

Thanks, Katie.  :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The End.

So, I have been really thinking about this whole blog thing. I've recreated my blog multiple times, trying to change it as I have changed since I first started it my freshman year. As much as this has been there for me, I really think it's time to take a break. A real break. Not a fake break where I pretend I'm going to write all the time, but never do. I'm tired of feeling I should write in this blog. I know I don't have to feel that way at all, but I do. Whenever I make a commitment, I hate breaking it no matter what gets in the way.

Right now in my life, there are a ton of things going on, most of it I cannot talk about at all on here. I think that's why I haven't posted anything of real use on here this past year. My whole life got turned upside-down this past November. A few close people know and understand what's going on, but I cannot even really talk about it with all of the people I deem close, which is mostly the people who actually take the time to read this blog. But when I did attempt to post stuff that really mattered, I kind of screwed things up way more than they should be. And I'm really sorry about that because it never was my intention.

So, I'm taking a break. Not that this really matters anyway. It's not like I have this huge following that will be devastated that I'm not going to blog for awhile, but I thought I would at least post so someone would know. But thanks for the comments and the love and everything you guys have ever written on here for me. I appreciate it. We'll see what happens later.

♥ Chelsey

Friday, June 17, 2011


I don't know what I had in mind when I changed my whole blog and created New.

Maybe I was tired of the format that I hadn't had for that long. Empty Stage Empty Page (ESEP) was good for the brief period it lasted... It was a time when I had no idea where my life was going. The background was as musically inclined as I was and it even had a crowd at the bottom cheering on whatever I decided to display on the stage that was my blog. I guess I was tired of being on stage though. I did feel my blog had become an act, a performance for those who read it, a thing I could write on from time to time without actually writing anything of importance. I didn't want that anymore. I didn't want my blog to be a performance. I just wanted it to be me.

And I tried that with New. as I attempted to give myself a goal to write about something every single week. But it became formulaic, which most everything in my life becomes, and my life just wasn't giving me anything that would fit properly into the formula. So I stopped blogging. I stopped writing and let my blog become a podium to speak to someone I couldn't speak to in real life. So many of the blog posts in New. were for Hugo. (Yes, Hugo, because I'm 95% sure anyone who reads this knows what happened between us and is there any point in not being honest now?)

But now that part of my life is closed. With all the drama and hardships I've been through this year, seeing both my past and my future being relentlessly shaken up and challenged and torn away from me, I've learned a lot about myself. I have no fucking clue what yet, but the ideas are beginning to form. I'm beginning to see things about myself more clearly, most especially the faults in the way I think, and finding things I want to change. I've always wanted to change myself, but never really have. I've never really dedicated myself to anything, to be honest, but I'm looking to change that to.

As Obama as it sounds, I think I may have found my new blog title.

Or maybe I'll look up a synonym.

Anyway, for those of you that have, thank you for following New., for reading, for commenting, for simply clicking the link when you noticed I had said something on here. I can't promise anything better, but for now at least I want to try.

Monday, May 30, 2011


I am determined to feel happy and be happy these next two weeks

and that doesn't feel like a good thing

because I know I won't be.

But it feels like something I have to do,

it feels like a mask I have to put on,

a wall I have to put up.

Because all I want right now is to

wrap up my dishes

take down my pictures

throw away the trash

and leave.

I don't think determining to be happy is real happiness.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


I used to think one day we'd tell the story of us,
How we met and the sparks flew instantly,
People would say they're the lucky ones.

I used to know my place was a spot next to you,
Now I'm searching the room for an empty seat,
'Cause lately I don't even know what page you're on.

Oh, a simple complication,
Miscommunications lead to fall-out.
So many things that I wished you knew,
So many walls that I can't break through.

Now I'm standing alone in a crowded room and we're not speaking,
And I'm dying to know is it killing you like it's killing me, yeah?
I don't know what to say, since the twist of fate when it all broke down,
And the story of us looks a lot like a tragedy now.

Next chapter.

How'd we end up this way?
See me nervously pulling at my clothes and trying to look busy,

And you're doing your best to avoid me.
I started to think one day I'd tell the story of us,
How I was losing my mind when I saw you here,
But you held your pride like you should've held me.

Oh, I'm scared to see the ending,
Why are we pretending this is nothing?
I'd tell you I miss you but I don't know how,
I've never heard silence quite this loud.

Now I'm standing alone in a crowded room and we're not speaking,
And I'm dying to know is it killing you like it's killing me, yeah?

I don't know what to say, since the twist of fate when it all broke down,
And the story of us looks a lot like a tragedy now.

This is looking like a contest,
Of who can act like the careless,
But I liked it better when you were on my side.
The battle's in your hands now,
But I would lay my armor down
If you said you'd rather love than fight.
So many things that you wished I knew,
But the story of us might be ending soon.

Now I'm standing alone in a crowded room and we're not speaking,
And I'm dying to know is it killing you like it's killing me, yeah?
I don't know what to say, since the twist of fate when it all broke down,
And the story of us looks a lot like a tragedy now, now, now.
And we're not speaking,
And I'm dying to know is it killing you like it's killing me, yeah?
I don't know what to say, since the twist of fate 'cause we're going down,
And the story of us looks a lot like a tragedy now.

The end.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Guardian: Quicktake--Messages Shouldn't Be Dismissed (3)

Second Quicktake Published and now... I'M OFFICIALLY PART OF THE GUARDIAN! FUCK YEAH!

The latest controversy to occur in our neighborhood comes from La Jolla High School, where the administration censored the messages “Freedom for Iran” and “Down with Dictator” that students painted on a bench.

The ACLU is suing the San Diego Union School District, demanding that it surrender its authority to eradicate any message it deems too inappropriate, as this violates the students’ right to be heard. ACLU activism aside, this is a prime educational opportunity.

If students care enough to paint these opinions, the administration has the obligation to utilize the students’ freedom of expression as an opportunity to teach.

According to the LHJS conduct code, the senior benches are intended for messages of school spirit and birthday wishes. Because of these established rules and federal law, the school is within its rights to censor the benches. But some impassioned students wanted their impact to extend beyond peppy school-spirited messages. These attempts at peer education shouldn’t simply be eradicated when they obviously concern an issue that students care about. Yasamin Elahi, the senior who painted the messages, said, “I never did any of this to get attention or hurt my school… I wrote the messages so kids would realize that there is a lot going on outside the world [of] La Jolla that they live in.”

The benches could have easily highlighted the controversy and provided an ideal point to start a real discussion about current events. When students so publicly displayed their need to show their peers what’s happening outside of campus halls, the administration at LJHS should have taken advantage of the opportunity to educate.

—Chelsey Davis

Contributing Writer

Friday, May 20, 2011

Guardian: Quicktake--To Porn In Public Or Not? (2)

Blocking Basic Rights is Objectionable

A New York Public Library spokesperson announced on April 23 that it is within the First Amendment rights of adult patrons to view pornography on computers in any of the city’s 200-plus libraries. But despite the obvious moral challenges the policy’s yielded, legally, it’s all there.

According to federal law, the libraries must comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act in order to retain funding, meaning that computers in the libraries must have filters that block any illegal content, such as child pornography. Patrons over the age of 17, however, can disable the filters if they wish to do so for “research purposes,” and by law, the library cannot censor any legal Web content — pornography included.

If parents are also worried about their children catching a glimpse of objectionable content as they pass on their way to the children’s section, the libraries also provide each computer with a set of dividers and headphones to keep patrons’ computer use as private as possible. These precautions allow patrons their freedom while also providing adequate protection to children.

Though different states have their own laws on pornography, the general rule in the United States is if the act depicted in the pornographic content is legal, then it can be legally sold and viewed. Adults have the right to view pornography; the New York Public Library system is simply acknowledging that fact. This policy does not promote public indecency — it just officially isn’t part of a librarian’s job description to patrol the desktops, looking for images that she doesn’t care to find.

— Chelsey Davis

Contributing Writer (BITCHES!)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

You're Not Sorry

All this time I was wasting
Hoping you would come around
I've been giving out chances every time
And all you do is let me down

And it's taking me this long
Baby but I figured you out
And you're thinking we'll be fine again
But not this time around

You don't have to call anymore
I won't pick up the phone
This is the last straw
Don't wanna hurt anymore

And you can say that you're sorry
But I don't believe you baby
Like I did before
You're not sorry, no, no, no, no

Looking so innocent
I might believe you if I didn't know
Could've loved you all my life
If you hadn't left me waiting in the cold

And you got your share of secrets
And I'm tired of being last to know
And now you're asking me to listen
Cause it's worked each time before

But you don't have to call anymore
I won't pick up the phone
This is the last straw
Don't wanna hurt anymore

And you can tell me that you're sorry
But I don't believe you baby
Like I did before
You're not sorry, no, no, oh
You're not sorry, no, no, oh

You had me falling for you honey
And it never would've gone away, no
You used to shine so bright
But I watched all of it fade

So you don't have to call anymore
I won't pick up the phone
This is the last straw
There's nothing left to beg for

And you can tell me that you're sorry
But I don't believe you baby
Like I did before
You're not sorry, no, no, oh
You're not sorry, no, no, oh
No, oh, no, oh, no oh
Whoa, no, no

Saturday, May 14, 2011

This Is For My Face

Dear Face,

I love you.

You know that.

So, as we wind down these last fifteen minutes of the anniversary of the day of your birth, I want to simply say a few words about you.

I don't know what I would have done without you this past year. When I'm not around you or not somehow circling within the same world you are, I feel untethered, like I'm lost and floating in space. I don't know if that last sentence made sense, but as I wrote I pictured living in this apartment without you and it just felt like I was completely disconnected from everything. You keep me here and you keep me looking forward to each and every day because I know I'm going to smile, I know I'm going to laugh, I know I'm just going to forget everything and enjoy myself when you're near. And even more than that, I know I'm going to have someone to hug, someone to cry to, someone to complain to, someone to overanalyze with

And even more than that even more, I know I have someone to simply be with.

It's truly a remarkable feeling to feel completely loved and accepted as you are. I feel like just this year I've come to realize who those people are in my life and I'm not lucky, I'm blessed that you are one of them. I've never really had those kinds of friends before so as God brings these most amazing people, like yourself, to me more and more, I just keep getting surprised and overwhelmed by the beauty of their friendship and their impact on my life.

Though our friendship isn't one that spans decades, in the couple years I have known you, you have truly made an indelible mark on my life. You cannot and will not ever be replaced in my life because there is simply no one like you at all.

To everyone reading this who is not my Face--
"Hate us 'cause we are who are. Hate us 'cause you'll never get this far."

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Bitter Sweet Symphony

Let's forget about that last post with a song. I've been listening to it a lot lately. It always reminds me of summer days in Sacramento as a child, specifically driving around Orangevale and seeing a slow, black a funeral procession. I don't remember if I knew then what it was exactly and what it meant. But the weather is taking a turn for the better and this song always resurfaces at this time. It means more and more with each passing year as I grow closer to being out on my own in the real world and closer and closer to understanding everything my mom has done for me and my brother, though that will always be far from fully comprehensible. So, I present you with... The Verve's "Bitter Sweet Symphony."

'Cause it's a bittersweet symphony, this life
Trying to make ends meet
You're a slave to money then you die

I'll take you down the only road I've ever been down
You know the one that takes you to the places
where all the veins meet yeah

No change, I can't change
I can't change, I can't change
But I'm here in my mind
I am here in my mind
But I'm a million different people
from one day to the next
I can't change my mind
No, no, no, no, no, no, no,no,no,no,no,no(fading away)

Well I never pray
But tonight I'm on my knees yeah
I need to hear some sounds that recognize the pain in me, yeah
I let the melody shine, let it cleanse my mind, I feel free now
But the airways are clean and there's nobody singing to me now

No change, I can't change
I can't change, I can't change
But I'm here in my mind
I am here in my mind
And I'm a million different people
from one day to the next

I can't change my mind
No, no, no, no, no, no, no
I can't change
I can't change it

'Cause it's a bittersweet symphony, this life
Trying to make ends meet
Trying to find some money then you die

I'll take you down the only road I've ever been down
You know the one that takes you to the places
where all the veins meet yeah

You know I can't change, I can't change
I can't change, I can't change
But I'm here in my mind
I am here in my mind

And I'm a million different people
from one day to the next
I can't change my mind
No, no, no, no, no

I can't change my mind
no, no, no, no, no,
I can't change
Can't change my body,
no, no, no

I'll take you down the only road I've ever been down
I'll take you down the only road I've ever been down
Been down
Ever been down
Ever been down
Ever been down
Ever been down
That you've ever been down
That you've ever been down

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

To Get This Off My Chest...

All I want is for him to talk to me first.

And it's all I can think about.

And it feels good to say out loud.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Vignette

A vignette is a short impressionistic scene that focuses on one moment or gives a trenchant impression about a character, an idea, or a setting and sometimes an object. -Wikipedia

Our house was empty at the time. It is only my father, my brother, and me, curled together on an air mattress on the blue ocean carpet in the middle of four crumbling, moldy walls. I can see through the shadows of the night the outline of the fox skin my father has hung on one of the crumbling, moldy walls. He found the fox dead on the side of the road and thought it was too beautiful to leave there. He brought it back in his large blue truck, skinned the dead carcass, and it has hung in its place upon the crumbling, moldy walls ever since.

They weren’t always crumbling and moldy, the walls. Though the walls have always been white, they were never bland. My mother saw to that with her knickknacks and her decorating, but now my mother is gone from this place, taking the Prince Street dwelling’s possessions with her. She deserves them anyway and soon my brother and I will leave this place too. Leave it forever, leave it for good.

But the walls weren’t always crumbling and moldy and they once were the bedroom of my parents when they were both still my parents and I could call them that. Now, I can only call them my mother, my father. Separate. These crumbling, moldy walls once surrounded a loving couple’s bedroom. Their bedroom had a bed they shared and closet where they both kept their clothes and a dresser with a television they both used to watch. My parents used to watch this television together as the fox skin hung above it. They were once together. There was once these items here. Now it’s just the air mattress, my father, my brother, the dead carcass on the wall, and me.

Down the hall, my bedroom has nothing in it, though these walls are not so crumbling and moldy. It used to have all my books, stacked in shelves along the wall, piled under my bed, in columns along my desk so that I would have to do my kindergarten homework on my bed. All these are gone and I’m not quite sure where they went. The blue ocean carpet has a burn in it right next to the doorway, where the carpet melted to the hardwood floor beneath from the one time my lamp fell off a pile of books and it didn’t have a lampshade on. I was already in bed, afraid to get out because I thought a ghost had pushed the lamp over, and I called for my parents until they came to pick it up and blow out the smoking ocean carpet. It wasn’t the first time I had watched something burn so easily. It wouldn’t be the last.

The other rooms are empty as well and my father will feel guilty about this as we squat in a house that used to be our family’s but is now owned by a bank. I’m not sure what bank it was but I thought at the time it was called ‘Foreclosure.’ He will feel so guilty about the emptiness that he will buy my brother and me a whole pack of toilet paper and we will be able to run and fling it all throughout the inside of our house because at least the toilet paper seems to fill it up. We didn’t even have to worry about cleaning it because it will be the last time we will ever be there.

Between those crumbling and moldy walls, the three of us lie on the air mattress. It is summer and sticky and the sliding glass door that leads to our deck is open. Past the deck, I can see the broken trees that hold broken swings that used to hold a not broken me. Once, I sat on the swings in the rain while eating stolen salad vegetables. I kept stealing carrots as my parents peeled them in the kitchen my parents once cooked in together because I didn’t want my eyesight to go bad and carrots were supposed to save your eyesight. Also a lie. I can see the deck and the broken trees and the broken swings in the light of the stars from the air mattress on the ocean carpet because where I am is not a city yet and there are not so many people that you cannot see the stars.

The kitchen has always looked crumbling because one whole wall is brick and cement middles and cement spills. My parents would cook meals in here but all I can smell when I wander through is the dust from the brick wall and my parents’ footprints. I know they used to be here. At one time or another, we had a coffee maker on our dining room table. I would climb up on a chair and turn the switch on and off, on and off and watch the see-saw switch light up a fluorescent orange when I pressed it down to turn it on. Then, for no reasons my four-year-old self could later explain as my parents bandaged my blistering fingers, I stuck my hand on the heating pad and watched as my skin burned until the smell alerted my parents and they came running in to save me. All I knew was that it was easy. The kitchen is empty now too and when I wake in the morning I know there will be no breakfast. There are no salad vegetables left to steal tonight.

Alanis echoes from the white, paint splattered boombox in the bathroom and this is what I remember most of that sticky summer night curled up on an air mattress with my father, my brother and only myself staring at the fox skin, a dead carcass pinned to the crumbling, moldy wall above a dead family. It wasn’t my mother who left us all like this. If it was in her power, she would never have let us come back, but it will be a few years from the sticky summer night on the air mattress between the four crumbling and moldy walls until she will have that power. And then my father will relinquish my brother and me forever, for good.

When no one breathes inside a house, you can’t expect the walls not to become crumbling and moldy. There’s no life. A house, as fallen as its family, stands in darkness on Prince Street on a sticky summer night. Ghosts sleep inside on an air mattress between four crumbling, moldy walls that once surrounded a loving couple’s bedroom. It can’t keep everything. It can’t keep its fox skin on the wall. It can’t keep its music. It can’t keep its echoes. It can’t keep its books. It can’t keep its ocean carpet. It can’t keep its walls. It can’t keep its rooms. It can’t keep its trees. It can’t keep its swings. It can’t keep the people inside. It can’t keep the people inside happy. It can’t keep the people inside safe. It can’t keep the family inside whole.

When its walls are crumbling and moldy, the fallen house can’t keep everything.