Writing 101, Day Eleven: Size Matters


Today, tell us about the home you lived in when you were twelve. For your twist, pay attention to — and vary — your sentence lengths.

What a Dump:

My home used to be a dump. As a child my parents moved around a lot and I think that it colored how I turned out as a person. It changed how I see people and homes and friends. Nonetheless we moved a lot. But nothing compared to THE BAD PLACE oooh. Scary. Title Drop~ Cue the spooky lights and sounds.

So THE BAD PLACE (wolfhowl) is a rundown apartment complex. It’s a limey place just next to like one of the biggest plazas. It was a useful place to live because when my dad’s car got stolen out of that parking lot we could just walk to the major stores.

I’m not gonna say where exactly this place is because my dad was friends with the owner. And…bad enough the place is a dump. He doesn’t need more bad reviews.

Okay so by now you’re imagining some shed or nothing at all as a placeholder for where I used to live, but don’t bother with that. I’m gonna paint you a nice clear picture of where I lived.

It had this peeling yellow pain, like the yellow wallpaper story about postpartum depression. The walls were soft because the leaking had gotten so bad that it seeped into the wood and into the cheap plaster substitute. The floor was tile, but that too started to inflate and loose its ability to be flooring. In the dining room and the under the fridge the grown had given way into these darkened black and brown gaping holes that led to God knows where. My parents tried to retile it with some shitty tiling from the Family Dollar and now some of the tiles are white and then grey and black.

The apartment was infested with all kind of things. Bugs, rats, lizards, iguanas, and even possums at one point. I never had trouble with anything really. I’m fine with rats, lizards, possums, and even most bugs, but I have a pathological fear of cockroaches. I think it has to do with the horrors I witness in that “home.” It’s funny actually because when we used to drive past that area, where it still stand to this day, my siblings and I clam up. Anxiety you know. It’s a bitch.

Well, so back the roaches. So there was such an infestation of them in that apartment that I couldn’t look in any direction in the entire house without seeing at least 10 roaches. I am not exaggerating. They were everywhere. It was more like we were the infestation to them. Some of them actually built up confidence through the consistent amount of genetic evolution these buggers went through in our house. (They breed like crazy!). They evolved to not be afraid of us. We called them to Brain Damanged ones. Mainly because they died much faster than the others. They didn’t run when the lights came on. They walked towards me and my younger sister probably thinking to themselves

“These are the pussies in the group. We can get away with anything because they won’t kill us.”

They always stood in front of the bathroom late at night when I had to pee. I’m this 12 year old hopping from leg to leg, quivering, knees locked to keep the pee from coming. I had a very weak bladder since I was young so any little scare or slip or laugh, and I’ve got the yellow river down my leg. My mom thinks it’s because I had potty anxiety. I took a long time to potty train, and it frustrated my dad. This is not important and this tangent is a bit disgusting. Back to the roaches.

Well, they were wrong about my little sister. She got a year older and just started killing them like the rest of my family. Picking up a shoe, the light gone in her eyes, as she slows down her steps to an agonizing Japanese Noh gesture, and then quickly slams down the shoe, hoping in what little concern for the suffering of roaches is left in her, that it was dead in one strike.

Like in a way it was good, that I lived in THE BAD PLACE (Dun dun dun) because it’s really hard to gross me out now, as a person. I lived in that place for a good couple of years of my life. The flying roaches didn’t show up until after the roof fell in on my older sister. The plaster was too weak to hurt her or anything but we lived with a giant hole in the ceiling that looked like a giant at ripped out with his bare hands. We lived with that for like another two years.

That night had been fun actually. We—my siblings, my cousin, and I— were playing hand games and stuff in the living room on the floor. Because we didn’t have beds in our room anyway, we didn’t mind sleeping in the living room to allow for more of us to lay together as possible. My cousin had come over to visit or live…I was never too certain about the relationship that cousin had with my family. Sometimes she lived with us for months, maybe years, I don’t remember. Then years would pass and we wouldn’t see her or hear from her. Not the point. Back to the roaches.

So my cousin slept in the shitty apartment and had to get used to the roaches. It’s funny. Apart from this story I can’t remember any interaction with her and roaches. But that night, when we were done playing and all of us were fast asleep on the ground like angels, I would dare say, silent and beautiful, I woke up. I usually do, in the middle of the night because of the anxiety I felt. The possibility that I might be attacked by bugs at night, kept sleep at bay.

She, my cousin, is laying there in the bed she’d made of pillows (she was better than the floor. She was a guest and must be treated as such…Brat). Her milky skin lit up bright by the dim light in the kitchen. My mom often left the lights on because I was afraid of the dark. She, my cousin, is white, even though we aren’t and I always thought that was cool. She has cute curly brown hair and a big smile, but an evil child to say the least. Pink lips and green eyes. Beautiful kid really, but evil as it gets.

So she is sound asleep. I lean down to watch her face. It isn’t often I see such a cute kid sleep, and no one is around to tell me to stop so I continue. I don’t know how long I sit about a yard from her, crouching down, watching her sleep. Her chest goes up …then down. Up. Down. Up. Down. It doesn’t matter, but after a while I see a two inch thick blob crawl across her milky face, first over her nose. I freeze, bile in my gut and in my throat. It is one of the biggest roaches I’ve ever seen. I swallow hard, and she doesn’t stir. I want to be brave and smack away the roach. I should and I hate myself for this but I don’t. It horrifies me into stillness. The bugs harry looking legs pinch at her skin as it moves in hurried scuttles; its antennas bounces up and down against her cheek. The bug then starts crawling into her mouth. I convulse there in my mind, but my outward self doesn’t budge. The brown monster contrasts in the dim light against her milky skin. It’s hefty disgustingly dirty body crawls quickly in then out of her mouth. I feel like I’m going to vomit and I stand up abruptly. Maybe I scare it, maybe not, but and the creature scurries quickly into the darkness.

I stood there above her, wanting to pee. I wanted to throw up. Part of me didn’t care her then. It was just disgusting. It wasn’t about her; It was about me. So. I never woke her. I never told anyone.



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