The familiar sharp tap between my eyes causes me to pause, propels me back to a place removed from this fairytale. And before I can block it out, the memories come flooding back.
Head over the sink. Bottle of antihistamines beside the faucet. Their pink oblong bodies. They never could quite dry me out. Render me groggy, surely. But remove the pain, remove the deep, internal itch, not a chance.
For years I battled the itch. The allergens that invaded my nasal cavities, my pores and eye ducts- so invariably persistent and cognizant of my discomfort. Even though I spent countless hours in the doctor’s office, blood spots on my arms from when they injected the serum that supposed to render me immune; even after all of that, it was a fight I couldn’t win. They said the injections would make me immune. But after three years, twice a week with the cat and dog and tree and plant and mold and dust in my arms, without any noticeable improvement, I gave it up.
I blame it on the house; the house with the second floor underground, and the walls that stank of mold, and the wood wrought with dew, and the blankets that never could quite bother themselves to stay dry. The house with the upstairs on the first floor, the main entry on the top, our bedrooms, our VHS player, our play area on bottom, under the earth.
The house was one of those pre-modern homes without any of the chemicals, or fancy materials that make building today so goddamn easy. No, it was a house of wood. And mold. Wood and mold. Surely it couldn’t exist without timely comments regarding its odor and the way said odor lingered long enough to taint the clothes of its inhabitants. With all of the time we spent down there, sleeping in our bunk beds, playing tripper ghost near the mini-auditorium fireplace, sitting in the dark to gain night vision, it’s no wonder I’m in this place, alongside the faucet and my pink, oblong comrades.
But the house beneath the earth lives. It lives on in my memory.