“The idea of a house built so that people could become lost in it is perhaps more unusual than that of a man with a bull’s head, but both ideas go well together and the image of the labyrinth fits with the image of the Minotaur. It is equally fitting that in the center of a monstrous house there be a monstrous inhabitant.” –Borges
A house, to which one expects to return but does not, becomes a relic.
I stepped out of the door one day for what I expected would be a moment and did not return for weeks. Never did return intact. The impetus for this absence is a fascinating, devastating, poignant and decidedly tragic story, which I will not relate here.
You can, however, see it in the walls.
It isn’t much of a house. It is a delicate wreck of a house. And I was rebuilding it. I built a number of rooms very quickly. Beautiful rooms, hopeful rooms, not just patch and plaster but exceptional rooms-painted gardens, a ceiling spiral of stars, book pages covering the walls. Other walls aged, layer over layer of paint and crackling, icons visible, etched like hieroglyphics-a rabbit, an eye. Floors worked into a chessboard grid with book pages, illustrated, illuminated, heavily shellacked onto the surface so I could walk across without disturbing them. Neither need nor occasion to turn a page.
Upon my return I looked at my home as if it belonged to a stranger. I live a solitary existence so the things I had left, as I had left them, were all that remained to speak for me. Casually misplaced, awry, askew and adrift, arranged, displayed, collected.
I do not remember having put it all together, though I know I had done. So I decided to let the rooms have their say. Memory of who I once was. Parts of the best parts of me.
The house, my home, mirrors me. Tragedy in reverse.
It had fallen apart before I found it.
I am falling it back together.