Grandma's House


I've been dropped off at Grandma's house again. It's so still here. Just like you said- a tomb of a house. I shall have to sneak you in again sometime when she's sleeping. I'd grow mould without you, I'm sure.

She's gone away upstairs again so I'm writing this in sugar on the kitchen table, running my fingers through the heap. I told you that when I was a kid, if she saw I had more than one toy out at a time, it would be lights out for me? I doubt she'd even notice the mess anymore, but I'll still clean up.

Last Wednesday I came home smelling like cigarettes and she didn't give me any tea. Well, I have nothing to do after school now if I can't smoke, so I just come back here straight away.

Everything watches me in this house... I told you that too. It's gotten bad again- I'm writing this next part in steam on the bathroom mirror. In her bathroom she has this crinoline lady statue (she keeps the toilet paper under her skirt) but don't worry; I've turned it around to face the wall. The bathroom is pink and always clean. It's like a fake- like the sets we're making at school for the musical. Removable walls and a gaping mouth where the audience will sit.

Anyway, you know she keeps those porcelain statues on the mantelpiece. I've never asked her if she has names for them or if they have backstories- you know how some of them are parts of collections, have specific meanings or whatever. The only one I know is the nativity scene, and the crucifixions, of course. She has quite a few Jesuses. They stare so hard I can hear it! All of them boring their little holes, vying for a piece. I can barely move, barely breathe. Everywhere I look there is Jesus. I never win his staring competitions.

Grandma keeps all her sewing stuff in a cookie tin under the sink, but sometimes it's out on the table when I come back. She never sews in front of me, just drops it all to get out of my way. She's the only one who can't look. She is both real and fake, I think. In this house, I imagine the windows turn inward. Every house has a face; we learned that in English. The door is a mouth, and the windows are the eyes. They look at me even when I'm on the inside.

She told me once about the 'eye of the needle', what that means, and now they won't stop staring either. I see them in the cookie tin, and they see me. The thumb and finger rings of her fabric scissors blink slowly, lethargic; I think they are bored. I like those scissors because they look old and very sharp. Let's play a game; I think they want work to do so they are like me, sitting in Grandma's house, bored. I'll give them a purpose. Me and the pair will team up against God, wallpaper, Grandma's windows. To win a staring contest, I think of cutting my eyelids off with Grandma's scissors.

In the bathroom, I would slide the tip of the hone line blade under my top eyelid, wait until it pokes through and then snip. It's a lot like cutting fabric.

The girl who sits in front of me in maths class has a plait that hangs over the back of her chair... She's got the longest hair in the class— all her friends are jealous. Maybe I'll settle for cutting that off instead.

I think of my hand as a pincushion. I would rest it on one of Grandma's doilies and poke all those pins and needles through. Was it you who gave me the idea? How you can make even inanimate objects blind? Under my skin, I would absorb their sight. Maybe that's what everyone means when they tell me to look inward.

I can tell only you: sometimes I can't be bothered to think about it all and hide under Grandma's patchwork quilt instead, lying on the sofa. Underneath I run a finger along the stitching. She made it out of my old baby clothes. It's one of her prized possessions.

I know what you'll suggest. How about a new blanket for Grandma? She leaves her sewing patterns out in a book and- you're right- it would be simple enough to make one. I could use my arms, my legs. She would have a piece of me she would like, and they would have less to stare at.

Thinking of you always, and signing off with the fridge magnets,