Home, Revisited – Lizi Ekseulidze

In my childhood home live my secrets and some of them I don’t remember. If you turn left when you enter, in the depths of that darkness live creatures I made up. They exist even after I’ve grown up and can’t touch them anymore. They lie chained far away with non-existent chains and if you listen closely you can hear them screaming, or a child laughing, or a mother doing something in between.
Under a layer of paint there are claw marks on the radiator. They are scattered crescents of white, a hundred moon eclipses; short like breath gets, hidden like inappropriate thoughts or hardly contained laughter. You can find them, I promise, if you really look. They tell stories of childish guilt and thoughts that have disappeared before being understood. Thoughts gone. (Where have they gone? They have gone where the sloppy drawings have gone, carved in the fog on the window, a thousand dancing fingerprints; they’ll reappear the next time the child wakes in wintertime and finds fogged up windows waiting for her like Christmas presents. They have gone where the child’s leftover food has gone, tucked under the couch, the fridge, in her older sister’s stomach.)
In a child live demons until they die, like the white candles she would kill when the power would come back on and there was no use for them anymore. The flame is hot and the wax burns but Pain is Good.
“Pain is good,” from the wall my grandfather whispers. His frame is grey, just a hue darker than the wallpaper so he blends in almost too perfectly.
“Pain is good,” the child repeats, “When I fell while playing tag and scraped my knee it meant I was having fun.”
You cried anyway… my grandfather trails off until he’s nothing but a portrait on the wall. The child laughs.
Take twenty-three steps from the dark and you’ll arrive at the bathroom. The black and white tiled floor is a web of questions and riddles; the child listens intently and then she mouths the answers to the mirror.
The bedroom wallpaper has cracks in it. The cracks look like nothing to most but to a child they look like shortcuts to another universe. She traces them with her fingers wishing she was tiny enough to fit. She observes them intently, expectantly, like she’s looking for something she has lost, but I know the child doesn’t know what loss is. The child knows nothing but the language of the silent leaves intruding the space of the balcony like guests shown up uninvited; she knows of nothing but the way to think yourself to a place far away, she claims to do so you have to be somewhere between awake and asleep; she knows nothing but how to read the freckles on her mother’s shoulders when she’s sleeping, how to imitate the rhythm of her breathing.
The child knows music only she herself can hear. Only knows how to love and how to count to ten and how to scream.
I know nothing whatsoever, nothing at all.
Please, take me back to my childhood home, I left my secrets there and so many of them I don’t remember.


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