I walk into a house with nothing and I think this is how the other side lives.
“We’re not dressed,” she says, arguing with our weary faces that don’t care, we just don’t.
“Put some clothes on and meet us here.” She locks the door behind her and she’s not allowed to lock it but she does and it doesn’t matter. We won’t be here long.

There’s cardboard from beer cases decorating the kitchen and the air is thick with the scent of old, sour pot.
I try not to touch the walls.

The strangest things are their faces, looking not with disgust but with wonder.
They’re envisioning a future here and it scares me because it doesn’t scare them.

There’s a thousand dollars of booze in the basement. The cheap stuff, the good stuff and everything in between. The toilet not two steps from where the bartender would stand is possibly the cleanest thing in the whole house.

We watch their hands so they don’t steal anything but that doesn’t seem to be on their minds.
Maybe I’m wrong to think them capable of that.
Maybe I’m not.

The graffiti that serves as a paint job in one room reminds me of a colorful murder scene, varying colors splashed and smeared across most of the otherwise bare concrete walls.
It’s the handprints that send a chill up my spine, many of them made to look like someone bracing themselves before sliding to the floor.
I try not to think about it.

The girl is dressed by the time we get upstairs, furious we ruined her fun but content to fume in silence, knowing she can’t say anything, knowing she has no leg to stand on.
I want to ask her why she’s here but I can’t fathom a satisfying answer so I say nothing.
She goes her way. I go mine.

I want to wash this place in flame. I want to never see it again.
I wonder what bad memories haunt these smoke-stained walls.
I wonder what dreams died here.

I walk out into the rain, and I don’t look back.



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