The House That Time Built

…or “What You Eat Is You”
First posted 06/29/10

I have a package to deliver and a plane to catch, both have to be done in an hour. My husband says I don’t have to actually catch the plane by 2 pm, the ticket is really telling me the boarding time and the plane will leave much after that. I don’t care though, I wanted to be there by 1 pm and it’s already 1:15.

We don’t know the exact address we’re delivering too, only that it’s in the airport compound and it starts with “One” and it’s an Asian-themed shop. We’re not sure if that means tea, anime, or something else. I finally walk into another shop and ask them what their address is and if they know where the —– shop is. I don’t hear myself say the name of the shop, but I seem to know what it’s called. The shop keeper heard the name and tells me the address and how far away it is. With this information, I know my husband can make the delivery without me.

“Now you have to get me to my plane,” I tell him.

We stop at a desk and he hands them my ticket. The man at the desk tells me I can have a backpack and two carry-on bags, which must be small. This is a problem because I have a backpack, two smaller bags, and a purse. I show him everything but the purse, thinking he won’t notice it but he does.

“You can take it all with you, but you’d have to convince someone to give up their seat.” He makes this sound very possible but I don’t want to take the chance so I stuff one smaller bag into my backpack. Problem solved.

There’s a lot filled with rubble where my plane should be and my luggage is gone. It looks like there was once a house there, but very little of it is standing. The front door is still there with bits of wall attached to but no other walls stand higher than two or three feet. There are people I don’t recognize milling about, some are cleaning the area up. I walk through the door.

Through the door the house is whole, but shabby. It’s packed with the people who were outside cleaning earlier. They’re all Hispanic. My mom shoves her way through the crowded space. “Why did you tell them they could stay here?” she yells. They don’t seem to notice how angry she is, but I’m embarrassed by her words.

“They had no where else to go and are helping us, why can’t we help them?” My voice is closer to a whisper. She tugs open the door and leaves angry. I don’t follow, whenever you go out the door the house is ruble again and I don’t want to see that.

“Have you seen my cats?” I ask a woman. She points and speaks Spanish to me, but I get the meaning. They’re in a back room with lots of windows so they can see out. The backyard is much more polished than the rest of the house. While the house looks about to fall around your ears, the backyard is fancy and lush like a king’s garden. My mother-in-law is preparing a dinner party in the backyard, it’s all her work. I decide to follow my mom and see where she’s going.

It’s a park I’ve never been to but my dream self remembers it as lots of fun times. There’s a building there which is easy to climb on top of. My husband is there too and he’s bouncing a basketball off the roof. He does something to the ball when he releases it so that is changes directions after each bounce.

Mom tells me that my youngest aunt was here recently and climbed a tree, can I climb higher than her? Of course I can, so I try to find a good tree to climb. I’m walking through the grass and come to a very short tree with an odd bird sitting on it. It has beautiful, fluffy feathers that look black, purple, green, and blue all at once. And it has a face. It looks like James Earl Jones’ face.

“Hello,” the bird says in a way that sounds like a parrot repeating what it’s heard before.

“Hello,” I say back.

“Hello.”

This goes back and forth for a while before I ask, “What are you?” I don’t know if I really expect a response or not. Listen, repeat is one thing, but understanding and responding to a question quite another.

“Turk.” I take that to mean he’s from Turkey.

“Well you’re a pretty Turk. What are you doing here?”

The bird flops to the ground, it doesn’t seem to fly well. We both lay back on the grass. “When they’ve mowed, you can find things lost in the grass.” I look at the short grass and see many different earrings on the ground. I recognize them all, they are pairs I’ve lost throughout my lifetime. Some of them I gather up, the ones that mattered. The ones I missed when I lost them.

My mom comes over. “What are you doing with that thing?” I show her the earrings and explain that the “thing” has just showed me how to find things lost. I think he’s a witches familiar.

Back at the house the dinner party is in full swing. I pick up two bottles to take outside but there’s already wine on the table. My mother-in-law takes the bottles from me, she thought I was planning to have them for myself but I tell her I thought one of them was water. I go back inside to find my water and I hear a loud bang.

The dinner party guests are gone and there’s a long rut in the ground leading to a place where dust is starting to settle as though something fell from the sky and scrapped along the ground. There in the center is a baby lamb, but it has a face. My mother-in-law is terrified and goes to scare the thing away but I try to stop her. I want to see if the lamb can speak the way the bird can.

We befriend the lamb and find out it can speak, but is very shy. It came with a book cautioning anyone who finds it to hide their pets because the lamb is a carnivore. I worry that it will hurt my cats, but at the same time I think my cats are probably quicker and stronger than this strange baby lamb.

We come up with a theory – animals are evolving. They’re trying to become more human in an effort to compete with us and not die out. Should we kill these abominations? Should we welcome them and let them flourish? Are they a threat? We don’t know.

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