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There’s No Going Back

There’s No Going Back
(and Other Thoughts That Come to You, Watching Paint Dry)

With every coat of paint the walls get thicker. With each fresh color, slowly, so slowly, they creep inward. Seaside Villa. Closer. Sweet Jasmine. Closer. Midwinter Mist. Closer. If you sliced the room in half you would reveal a candy-striped cross-section - thin slivers of Orchid Haze, Highland Thistle, Porcelain Peach, Squash Blossom, like the rings of a tree, revealing the room’s age. You imagine peeling away layers of pink paint like blistered, sunburnt skin. But instead of shiny, new skin beneath it, you find aged, faded, latex paint. Probably lavender - the poor choice of some former inhabitant. You wonder if the house can feel it. Desert Coral. Closer. Plum Smoke. Closer. Unmellow Yellow. Closer. The house gradually seals shut, collapsing in on itself like a dying star. It solidifies, hardens, grows denser and denser until it implodes under its own weight and shatters into pieces, fragments of place that can only be re-assembled into grotesque reproductions of what once was. And the patched ruins crumble, only to be put back together again and again, more and more wrong, more obscure, more unstable. They splinter and double and invert and decay and grow and implode and explode over and over, steadily fading like an image xeroxed again and again until all that’s left is a blank page and some faint noise. The place still exists somewhere - sometimes you glimpse it in the corner of your eye or the back of your mind, a ghost in a mirror - but you can never go back.