acommune

A COMMUNE

Excerpt from a longer work (reenactments).

Lotte Brown

The day the turkeys appeared for the first time, two of them bashed their heads into the glass door and she left me alone. 

On her way out she suggested I tape paper to the glass in the hope that it might keep the animals from seeing their own reflections.
‘The paper is in the cabinet above the printer.’


She always has the television on.
I’m not used to having a television and when I walk from the back of the house to the front and there are voices and sounds, it startles me. Not once, but every time.

It's just the television. There’s nobody. You’re alone.

 

The country and the television are obsessed with patriarchy. This in response to a judge nominated by the President who is now charged with sexual assault. When he was a student and drunk, he lured a girl into a room, pushed her on the bed, touched her, put his hand to her mouth and tried to take off her bathing suit.

 

When I open the garage I see a fox. It’s running fast between the trees, its bushy tail high above the thickets. At first I think it is a dog. I’m afraid of dogs and I’m unable to be their master. Dogs were wolves living in packs and there was always a leader of the pack. When they’re alone they assume the leader is themselves. Whether or not they’re suited for the position. Because it’s ill-advised that a household be run by a dog it’s important that someone else takes on that role.

 

In bed I think about the last time I saw him. The last time is almost ten months ago. It was by the car at the airport. Specifically, at the trunk of the car where he lifted my suitcase out. To get to the airport we had to drive through the snow.

‘It is dangerous, it’s a snow storm.’
Later I would learn that the storm was given different names: Winter Storm Grayson, Biggest Blizzard and ‘ a bomb cyclone’.

That day I didn't realize we were in the midst of a historical storm, it was just a lot of snow.

 

The next day the house awakens and buzzes. I think it’s the circulation of the air. Or the water pump. It could also be the device that’s meant to deter mice, but the sound it emits is supposed to be at a frequency out of range of the human ear. It’s just for mice.

 

In the afternoon I go to the back of the house. The back is actually the front. The house is a labyrinth.

Suddenly it was there. So lost, it seemed alien. Maybe even a coyote?
I looked closely. Not a coyote. A baby deer.
A Bambi with white dots. Late-born. Soaked and lost.
It could take shelter on the wide concrete steps but its baby deer legs are not used to concrete.
Dear baby deer deer singular plural walks up the stairs.
And off.
It stares at me and is too wet to be afraid.
I could save it but then it would be abandoned and completely lost.

 

At eight o'clock in the evening I get a message. It is about the court hearings. The president, the judge. The fact that all men are bad. And how I’m an elf.
After the message, he calls and asks me if he is a bad person.

I walk around the kitchen island three times. I boil water for tea. Three times around the kitchen island is three times fourteen steps. I make and drink tea for good sleep and digestion. I decide to watch zombies. His whole family will know that I watched zombies.

 

When I scream at night night like a lamb slaughtered by an old wolf with blunt teeth I think of him telling me how he became a better singer by being so alone in the little house on the outskirts of town.

I do not know if one can become a better shouter or screamer or if it has any use.

I am not even sure why I’m doing the screaming. It's as if something has taken me over, crawling up from the soles of my feet to get out through my mouth.
I think it’s because I can. Because nobody on this mountain hears me.
And because he’s nearby.

The river has become an ocean.

 

I lie in the middle of the room on the large carpet made of brown sheep.

My thoughts are a commune.

The carpet is warm and soft like mud.

Through the windows I see the trees and the sky. To the trees, I might look like an animal.

I tell him everything feels like a reenactment from back then, that time.
‘What time?’
‘When I was in the house, last time, when you came to visit. The first time.’
‘Ah, yes of course.’
‘Imagine if we did a whole reenactment of our time together?’
‘That sounds grueling’
‘Well, I'm afraid I'm doing it.’
‘I’am so sorry. I’ll try.’


He says he wants to come and I believe him.
He says he’s afraid the car will break down in the middle of the road. Or maybe he’ll have some sort of an attack and crash into the bridge. Yesterday he couldn’t get up because of the tangles in his hair.

 

My phone keeps alerting me about a flood. They recommend not leaving the house until morning. At night I wake up sweating.
There’s a thunderstorm outside. When it thunders in the mountains, some say it’s the ghost of Henry Hudson bowling. As he bowls, he’s watching over the valley.

 

I listen to the sound of a boiling egg mixing with the hum of the refrigerator. My thoughts right now are that I’m listening to the sound of a boiling egg and that I should take the egg from the pot and that the writing of history may not be for me. All this telling. The descriptions of the environment, my hosts, the rooms, the smells, the scenery, the streets, my thoughts.

I’ll keep doing it until I give up.  We cannot give up. My mother always said that was strength. For us. Us little people, we don't give up.

In Finland they had a thing called the Sauna Olympics. In 2010 the sauna was too hot but two man persisted. A Russian and a Finn. In the end they both passed out. The Russian died and the Finn was scarred for life.
I remember the egg and get up. There is no egg in the water. The water has boiled down. There’s nearly nothing left in the pot.  I fill it up with water again and put two eggs in.

 

Lotte Brown