Our house is a peeling wall of grey paper, spoiled milk cabinets, sludge brown concrete. I'm standing where I last saw you, a dead bouquet of your wildflowers still in my hand, my vision so cloudy, my body so tired, since you got lost in our hallway to the left.
"He's forgotten you." I glance down at the talking cellar rat.
"No. I think he's just lost. And maybe it's time to go find him."
The rat sneers, showing a row of razor sharp teeth. I swallow hard. It is time to find you, but I've been frozen in place for so long that at first only my shoulder slowly crunches into motion, an avalanche of dust falling from my ragged clothes like snow onto the grimy floor. Soon I'm crackling and creaking all over, stretching myself into a writer again as I rub the blur out of my eyes.
I pour rusty water into a dusty vase for your long dead wildflowers, placing them on the half of the kitchen table that hasn't yet disintegrated into rubble.
Remember when we built this home? You were the colour sky blue, and I was sunshine yellow. Our secret words created a kitchen of vivid forest green, with a mint coloured couch and emerald curtains billowing with a warm breeze as we scribbled all over the foyer with giant green sharpies.
Now, I shiver in the chill, listening to the slow drip of the rusty faucet and the sickening squish of the rat gnawing on something rotten inside the walls.
I force open the door to the left, and step into our hallway with wallpaper made of stars, reminiscing as I walk, as minutes turn to hours turn to days turn to months. I remember our corridor had to stretch quite a distance, but it can't be that far, can it? I always felt like we were in the same space anywhere within our world.
Our passageway slowly loses its edges, and am I even going in the right direction? I keep walking, or am I swimming, or gliding? I'm floating in a sea of stars, and I realize with a jolt that we never finished our hallway. That you were never in our home. That our home never existed, did it?
I could have sworn...
I float through thick shadows and glowing orbs without time or shape. Will I even find my way back? Maybe it's okay if I don't. Maybe it's okay if you're scribbling on someone else's walls now. Maybe it's okay if the rat is right; if you've forgotten me. Because your memory enticed me to write my way down our passage made of stars; in fact, the same hallway you found me in those years ago.
But if you found me here...
Was actually it my hallway all along?
I scoop up a tiny galaxy from the deep gold wallpaper. It glows warmly in my palm as the stars within it form little arrows pointing me home.
I step through my hallway to the left, into my house with sun yellow couches and a lemon kitchen, with gold stars hanging from the ceiling, bronze colored walls, and amber curtains waving in the breeze. Outside, a curry colored cat hunts a rat through my goldenrod lawn.
And on my kitchen table, in a sky blue vase, sits a fresh bouquet of wildflowers.