RECESSION

Recession
by Matthew Simmons

Your landlord/landlady is terminating your tenancy and wants to evict you [from your home] because:

The house is falling down. The walls are hollow and make a scrabbling noise all day and night. And we’re sitting in the car.

We’re sitting in the car watching the house fall down. It’s a night of a certain kind. It’s the kind of night that provides ample reasons for us to sleep in a car in front of our house.

I’ve gone through the reasons with her. I’ve told her that the stars are out tonight, and she said the stars are always out. I said tonight more stars than ever are out, and if she leans back in her car seat and looks up, she’ll see just how many more than usual. She laughs and says the stars are always the stars and there aren’t sometimes more stars or less stars. There are always just the same amount of stars. I assure her that she’s wrong and that I know because I am older. And that Mommy can verify. And Mommy verifies.

Your landlord/landlady is terminating your tenancy and wants to evict you [from your home of six years] because:

The house is unlivable due to its tenant’s inattentiveness and inaction and exhaustion.

A crack in the ceiling is a crack in the ceiling, and it distresses. A crack in the ceiling that is reported maybe brings a landlord/landlady to check it and to patch it. A landlord/landlady come to patch a crack in the ceiling is an intrusion on one’s privacy. An intrusion on one’s privacy—and the privacy of one’s very private family—is not something one allows without reservations. An internal debate over whether an intrusion on one’s privacy is worth more or less than the distress of a crack in the ceiling can take a long time to work through. And eventually, a crack in the ceiling moves into a blind spot in the brain. The brain patches up the crack instead of the landlord/landlady, and the debate disappears when the crack does.

The body of a mouse, killed by one’s cat, might have come from anywhere.

Your landlord/landlady is terminating your tenancy and wants to evict you [from your home where you live with your little girl who has never known another home] because:

What’s a hole in the cereal box? What’s a bag of rice nipped open and scattered on a cabinet shelf? What’s a lunchtime without a knife to cut the edges of a bitten-at slice of white bread?

We share our food, and a landlord/landlady might not get that. Maybe the landlord/landlady never learned to share. But Mommy shares. And Daddy shares. And our Little Bird shares. And we all share with the cat. And we all share with the little mouths and the little paws that tick tack tick tack across the hardwood floors when all the lights are out and all the family sleeps.

Your landlord/landlady is terminating your tenancy and wants to evict you [from your home where you live with your little girl who has never known another home] because:

Of “inexcusable neglect.” Quote unquote.

The notice to evict has, highlighted in yellow, a note about “inexcusable neglect.” It’s after a box, checked with an X that says: other. As in reasons for termination of tenancy. Other reasons.

The house is sick with something. Filled with little things like house germs. They are like germs in the house. You know when you have a cold, and we tell you it’s germs, we say to her. That’s what is inside the house.

And then a thing occurs to us. (To me first, and then I say it, and Mommy confirms.) You have had, in your life, five colds. I have had, what, fifty? Mommy has had, what, sixty? You have had five colds and we can name every one. We remember every one.

Your landlord/landlady is terminating your tenancy and wants to evict you [from your home which you expected, hoped, dreamed of leaving some day soon anyway, because you would like a yard and you would like a garage, and you would take better care of a place that wasn’t this place, because that place would be real and this place is just a stop along the way to a place that is real] because:

The landlord/landlady can maybe sense that this is not real to you. S/he has a landlord/landlady sense of commitment. A sixth sense about these things. And that’s why the unannounced drop-by. That’s why the walk-through and the swearing of, I sent a letter and you did not respond no. That’s why the, Within my legal rights. And the, Actually I gave you more than the 24 hours required.

And that’s why the walk-through. And the uncalled for talk. And the, Who said you could have a cat? And the words in front of our Little Bird that we were trying to keep our Little Bird from hearing, for at least a little while. That’s where all that occurred. That’s when all the legal proceedings began. That’s when it was all set in motion.

And now we’re sitting in the car and I’m looking and waiting for the house to just crumble, and for the little ones to pile out. For the door to splinter and break and for all of them to pour out in a flood of scrabble and little sharp teeth.

And instead it’s strap in all, and, Honey hold the cat, and hit the gas. And we crash the car through the front wall, sure our belts will keep us safe. Sure the safety seat is just that.

END

Matthew Simmons‘s new book is the story collection Happy Rock (2013, Dark Coast Press). His website is matthewjsimmons.com.

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  • Kaitlyn

    Excellent