• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 11
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Spiders and Flies and Snakes and Nightmares

In my head, I’m old enough to stay up late with the grown-ups. I just don’t want to. I can hear them laughing and knocking their glasses together downstairs.

I skip over the attic floorboards as though they’re piano keys, holding onto my headphones. The music tastes golden green. I stand at the window just as the song reaches the gentle explosion noise and the guitar solo begins. It jangles against the glass and colours the heavy evening clouds lime, burnt orange. As the horn section kicks in, a sickly kind of yellow, too.

Mummy hangs the bunches of flowers the guests bring upside down from the attic beams. They move when I dance. She says hanging them means they will stay beautiful for a long time. The guests almost always bring them. Boxes of chocolates and caramels too. They glue my words together and make my throat feel thick.

Before the guests arrive, I take my Daddy’s records upstairs. I listen to the man who shares my sister’s name over and over. I can’t decide if he’s good or bad.

He scares me quite a bit, but I love him. He sings about spiders and flies and snakes and nightmares. Things that frighten me, but I want close to me, too. Safely in a jar where I can look at them, press my fingers to the glass and pretend I can touch them.

I keep dancing, twirling, trailing dust in circles. I click my fingers in time to the piano, throw my arms towards the dead flowers, press my face to the window.