• Ruby Odierna

The House

By Ruby Odierna


My heart is a house with little rooms inside, and every person I love has a room. They lie in crooked beds by themselves, always sleeping, and they are all equally alone, but contained in one larger house together. So when I say that I love you, I mean that you occupy one of those little rooms. And every time you hug me, my heart beats harder, and that is how I know the house is growing to fit you inside.

One day, I’m afraid someone so large will enter the house that it will no longer be contained. It will still try to grow, larger and larger to fit him inside, until it bursts into little pieces and the beds will break, and the walls will crumble, and the ceilings will crack, and the people will wake up. Every piece of everything will become a part of everything else. The people I held there before him will have scattered. The air will be harder to breathe with so much of him in it. But soon, I will rebuild the house, and in its new form, with a new understanding of love, he will be all it can hold. The door will look like his back, sturdy and reluctant. The walls will be painted blue, like the room he grew up in. Most importantly, the windows will be shaped like his eyes, because only he will need to see through them. When he realizes he has taken up all the space in the house, he will begin to take up the space in my head. I will shrink the words I want to say to him, null my questions to fit him inside. He will live there like a parasite, feeding on my self-doubt and insecurity. I will try to make my host’s home a nice place for him, thinking only of what I can do for him. He will be expansive and grand. He will move through land and me like we are in his way, fast, un-careful, hot and cold. I will be deliberate, slow, mild, temperate. When we sleep in his bed, I will press myself against the wall. I will speak only when I think my words will be well-received by him. On his time, he will crawl out of my head, out of the home, running far and wide for more.

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