She’s talking. She’s clearly talking to you. But only a few words are able to reach you. You focus all your energy on her lips. If you could only spin a thread from her mouth to your ears, everything would be clearer. But it’s like there always are interferences ready to force themselves on you, breaking all possible transmission. You try, you force your conscience to stay focused, but your attention is constantly called somewhere else. Why is it you’re here ? What are you doing here ? Did you really come empty-handed ? No, obviously not. You must have brought something with you. It’s the first time you meet her, obviously, you wouldn’t have came empty-handed. So, you must have brought something, something related to the reason you came here. Except that now, you can’t remember any of these. And you can’t hear her voice. Which is really unfortunate when you think of it. Because if you could hear her, you would definitely understand why you came to see her. Try again, maybe if you try hard enough… You realise now she’s not upset by your silence. Maybe she doesn’t even realise you can’t hear her. Or maybe she doesn’t care if you hear her or not. Maybe she’s just using you to empty herself. That’s it. You’re container in which she pours herself. When you look around, you get it. The house is full… You get to wonder how she can still fit oxygen in it. Every space is so full… papers… dishes, clean, broken, dirty… food, half-eaten, plastified, smashed, fresh, rotten, moldy, ready for dinner… clothes… and so many things you can’t even name. There is even hair… or… hairs ? Yes, that’s it, hairs. You feel the scent of dogs, and as if you could see them, you suddenly guess that there are more dogs in this house than fingers and your both hands. You’re not afraid of dogs. No. It’s not the problem. Then what it is ? It’s not far, you can smell it, here somewhere, stuck between the piles of nameless mess…
While you’re looking for the solution to the mystery, her voice suddenly reaches you, clear and precise.
« Two hours. It would be great if we met two hours a week. »
Clear and precise like a curse. You’re freaking out. It’s not a good idea. You don’t even know why, but it’s not. You wish you could explain, but your voice get tangled, lost, broken. It’s like your tongue has suddenly doubled and your words can only escape your lips in isolated syllables. It seems like she doesn’t realise that. Or she doesn’t care. In the same way you couldn’t hear her voice, you can’t make hear yours. She peacefuly stands up, with charm and finesse you wouldn’t have imagine. This simple gesture is enough to calm you down. There is still no reasonnable explanation for your behaviour, it’s just that seeing her standing over the table like that seems to restore some cohesion in this chaotic universe around you. Unfortunately, this break is very short. You didn’t hear the voice, but you she was called outside. You didn’t hear because it’s like every piece of this house has its own voice to call her again and again. Every abandonned items, every twig is looking for her attention. Which voice is she answering ? You have no idea. She smiled at you, glad you fell agree.
« Dogs must be fed ! »
She left the room, bringing with her all the finesse of the room. Nothing’s left is. Nothing but you and the voices of all the things lying around, waiting for someone to pick them up, to take care of them. But you’re not the one they want. You’re just a cheap replacement compared to the sophisticated creature living in this place. The whole house suddenly feels hostile. Now you know why you were terrified sooner when finding out how many dogs were living here. Their smell is everywhere. It’s crashing you. It’s screaming « this is our place ». The smell would kick you out in the moment if it could. The voices of the abandoned items join the sensory mess so you leave the place. You don’t know what to do. You haven’t said goodbye, you couldn’t. You don’t evn know why you came, and now you have to live this again two hours every weeks, and you don’t even know what for. You need to go. Deep inside, you know this is not ok, that you must say goodbye. But you can’t handle it anymore, you feel the smell getting stronger and stronger, se voices getting moe hostile, the walls tightening on you, so tight that you’re about to lack of air. You need to go.
You start your journey. It’s the good choice of word. The house is huge, a true labyrinth. Indeed, she’s so huge that several trees have already grown inside, pushing every items against the walls, spreaing even more chaos. You don’t know where she’s gone. And you don’t remember how you got to the room where you were talking with her. It’s like you didn’t even exist before this conversation with her. Like you have never heard a single voice before hers reached your ears. You don’t understand the rules of this place. You wander more than you walk. You clearly need to understand how things work here to get out. Having no clue, you decide to follow your guts, and so you run away from the dogs’ smell. Like an anti-hunter, you unfollow the trail, going where it’s less and less perceptive. The walls seem to bec loser on you. The general chaos is more and more difficult to label. The trees are thicker and thicker, their roots are bigger and bigger. You start doubting your choice… Maybe you got even deeper inside the house instead of getting closer to the exit like you hoped. You finaly get to a weeping willow. The light coming out of it finally soften all the hostility that was suffocating you since she left. Its long branches peacefuly run against the walls. A draught even come between them, creating a soft waltz. You don’t know where it comes from, but you finally feel relieved. You come to lie a bit against its trunk. You live your head against the bark and enjoy its rough touch. Before you realise it, and even if you didn’t really want it, you fall asleep.
It is this exact same draught that wakes you up later. The thin branches are caressing your skin with all the softness you thought she could have before you got lost in her house. You wish you could stay here. Not moving anymore, simply enjoying this time of peace. But the branches are insisting : you need to go… You stand up with a resigned sadness. You know the tree is right, you need to go. When witnessing your sadness, the weeping willow refuses to let you go on your own. Its branches slowly grow, crawling against the walls, chosing carefuly the corridors where they spread. Other branches come to friendly hold your hand : you’re not on your own. And this is how the tree is guiding you to the exit you were mourning for. You don’t have the time to thank the weeping willow. You are barely out of the house, and it has already completely vanished. As if you had only dreamt it. You can still feel the marks of the bark of the trunk on your neck, the thin scratches of the leaves on your arms. You fingers follow them : you’re not on your own.
It’s night outside, and you need to go hom now. You start walking down the streets. You’re lying to yourself. Your mind has learned this new particular skill in no time : he forgets to tell you are in the middle of labyrinth once again. And while you follow the black-bricked walls shining of dew, your mind is lining up your steps with the way created by the passing ivy. Your mind is sure that like the weeping willow, the ivy will know how to bring you back home. You must admit that it was a good choice. Because you finally are in front of your building. The frontage is made with the same black brick than the walls of the streets. You are a bit astonnished to see how everything is so wet. You haven’t heard the rain. There is no watter on the floor, and all of this seems too much. You try not to care. Anyway, you don’t have time for this, a new task is awaiting you. The door is locked, you must convince the door code to let you in. This kind of machine does not fit with the style of the building, but once again, you don’t have time for such questions. The true problem now, is that the door code is not working. You refuse to panic. You did not successfully come here to panic now. So you just find a way to hoppen the bow, and here you are, with your hands in the wires, looking how to untangle them. Obviously something might not be wired the right way. Something might be damaged. But you have no way to know what and why. There is no rule in this bunch of wires. And the more you stick your hands in the wires, the more there are wires. Your hands are burning, you might have earned a few electric shocks with all these frictions. You’re so convinced that there is no other way in, that you have no choice than fixing this, that the pain can’t reach your brain. And you keep going, convinced that you will end up finding the magic solution to connect the disastrous machine with the door. Sooner or latter, you will figure out how this works. In the meantime, blisters start appearing on your hands.
You’re surprised when the light goes on. You didn’t notice, but there is a window above the door. It’s where the light comes from, it spreads how it can on the entrance where you’re still fighting witht the machine. And so the miracle you did not expect anymore happens : a woman opens the door. She doesn’t have the finesse of the one in the house. You can say she is kind of sophisticated, but her face seems rough, or not well-designed. Her hair has the shape of a draft mass, like if they were drawn on the wall with chalk stick. But you don’t care. Because she lets you in. Nothing comes out of her. Neither hostility nor kindness. She looks like she acts only because it is what must be done. She opens the door and move to the side so you can come in, but more precisely, so you can have a perfect sight of what’s coming next for you. You have barely entered the building that you are petrified : stairs everywhere, leading to deep corridors et endless doors. You can’t make a move. It’s like your brain can not hold so many information, you can’t make a single move. You’re overwhelmed. Your eyes are getting insane, looking for a spot where they can start mapping the place. All you wanted, was to go home… You feel the tears flowing along your cheeks and you do nothing to stop them, you can’t do anything. You don’t have the strenght. They flow and flow, ready to sink the whole place. The woman puts her hand on your shoulder, and with an almost warming voice, she just says :
« You’d better get back to work now… »
When she gets out, she closes the door after her, leaving you on your own the entrance, starring this new labyrinth in wich you hope your house is. Your home. It’s only when your hand are strong enough to wip your eyes that you understand why the walls outside were so wet…