01 Feb Notes to the girl whose house I live in
It took me a week to find where you keep your wifi password. A whole week! I was really worried you’d thrown it away, but lo and behold, there it was in the cutlery drawer of all places. Everything about the way you organize things confuses me. I guess because you live on your own now you just put things any old place. I know there was someone else before, I heard you talking about him on the phone. Johnny, I think? Jimmy? Anyway, I know because you said it was tough being alone. But you’re not alone, of course. You have me!
There’s a crack in your roof where I can see down onto the street below. Don’t worry about the roof, by the way – yes, it’s pretty cramped, but I like my spaces small. I’ve actually stuffed a few things up there to make it smaller (just bits and bobs from the recycling, I don’t think you’ll miss them). I can sit with my face against the wall and see down onto the street. That’s where I saw you meeting up with all those people wearing black. It would have been weird anyway because you never meet anyone, but they were all rubbing your back and holding your hand and stuff. I was scared you were going to bring them in but you just went off together so that was okay. I don’t know what I would have done if the house had filled up with people.
You know, it really explains a lot that there was someone else before me. Like the fact you have two sets of drawers in your bedroom, or how you’re living in such a big house all by yourself, and do weird things like leave the wifi in the cutlery drawer or watch the same TV show all day on a weekend.
I’m not one to talk, mind. I’m addicted to my toys – like the big lump of blu-tack I found a while back which is great fun to fiddle with but doesn’t taste too good, or the cigarette lighter that’s fun to flick on and off, or the tube that has all the patterns in you can change. I could look down that thing for hours. I often have! That’s what I normally do when you’re home. Or I just sit back and listen to you do the washing or run a shower or something like that. I crawl up the walls and hang there with my ear to the pipes and listen to the water rushing by. That kind of thing makes me happy. Plus you never have anyone around so once I got your schedule memorized I could move around pretty free.
I know what we have: It’s a symbiotic relationship. That means you help me by giving me a warm place to stay and wifi, and I help you by eating all the spiders.
Of course, there’s no need to thank me! I fell asleep under the towels in your airing cupboard once (before I found the roof) and I saw you trying to get rid of one that was living under your sink with a broom. I have never seen so much ridiculous fuss in my entire life. But it makes no difference to me how many legs something has, so I just eat them up whenever I find one, and any other thing that makes its way into the house without permission (aside from myself, of course!).
Since I only pay rent in spiders I try to keep the things I take to a minimum, but I can’t say I feel too bad about stealing your socks. You have so many socks! Why would one girl need so many? I get a lot more out of them then you do, anyway. I like to take them apart by the threads and then wrap all the threads around my fingers and pull them tight till the tips go purple. I can nibble my own finger-tips and not feel a thing. It’s pretty great.
I try not take too much food either. I’ve found I can usually survive off the things you leave out, or throw away (why don’t you eat banana skins? Another habit of yours that confuses me a lot. I like to open my mouth all the way and drop them in whole, no chewing). I’ve never needed too much food to get by. I really, really, really like butter though. Not to eat so much as just to play with. You once left a block out by the window in the sun and it went all melty while you were at work, so I sort of started playing with it. Once I’d stuck my finger in once it was kind hard to stop! I had it looking like a puddle by the end. But then I realized it was five and you’d be home soon, so I had to press it back into a rectangle as best I could. But then I heard you opening the door – boy, I was so startled! I went into the cupboard under the stairs (you know, the one you never go in as it’s full of men’s shoes and coats and things) and I watched you come in through the doorway. But then came the weird part: you didn’t even notice the butter. All you did was make a cup of tea and then give up halfway through and start crying. Then you ordered a chinese and barely ate any before throwing it away.
You see what I mean about your habits. I’m sorry but it’s just weird.
Sometimes if I’m having a bad night I like to get under your bed while you’re asleep. It’s nice because I can hear you breathing, and then I can match my breath up with that. I lie there for ages, gasping in and out, and if you get up for the bathroom or anything I have to go completely still and hold my breath. I don’t know why I do it – I guess it’s fun. You’re the first person who’s company I’ve ever enjoyed.
You cooked dinner the other evening. I noticed because you played music, which you never do, and you made something with took almost an hour and a half with about a million ingredients. I crept down to the top of the staircase and I could see you bouncing around doing moves with the spoon. It was so funny I had to cover my mouth to keep from laughing!
Then I saw something that got me really scared. You’d laid two places at the table.
I thought there was someone else in the house and climbed all the way up to the ceiling thinking they’d see me. As I was hanging there I saw you serving two plates and I couldn’t move for the panic. Another person! I just knew I wouldn’t like them as much as you. That they’d ruin everything and make me go all crazy like I used to be. I didn’t know what to do. I was ready to hurt them – really, really hurt. That’s how scared I was.
Then you sat down. You lit the candle on the table and started eating by yourself. Nobody else showed up, and after you were done you took the other food and threw it away. Even though I was relieved, I felt kind of bad that the other person never showed up. You didn’t seem sad, though. It was like you’d expected it to just be you.
After you went to bed I went through the bin and ate some of the food you threw away. It was delicious.
I knew something was wrong the next day because you didn’t leave for work, and then you ran a bath in the middle of the afternoon. After you’d been in there for ages and ages I started to get this horrible bad feeling. I crawled down to the landing. The bathroom door was open a crack, so I peeked through.
I saw your hand. It was hanging, not in a natural way, and there was this long red line going down it and then I realized –
I ran back upstairs.
I’m a coward. I know I’m a coward. I hid under my pile of stuff and started to cry.
I thought about running away. I thought about the colour a pink bathmat goes when it’s covered in blood. I thought about how much I wanted to be somewhere else. But most of all I thought about you, and how little sense you make.
What I’m trying to say is that I’m sorry I lit your roof on fire.
It was the only way I could think to get people to come. It actually worked better than I expected – that recycling stuff sure did burn. I ran down to the cupboard under the stairs and curled up with my hands over my head until I heard them kick the door down and carry you out. There was a lot of confusion and bad language, but they found you and I heard one say you were still breathing.
So my favorite place in the whole world is gone now. Most of my things as well, though I did think to grab the pattern tube. The rest is just a big black wig on top of your house. But I’m not scared. You’ll get better, and when you come back, I’ll still be here. I don’t think it’s nice to be alone.