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House With No Doorbell

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Kai has always had a strange relationship with many things. People, places, themself. they never really felt connected to any of it. The one place Kai ever felt accepted is the attic of their mother’s house. The attic held all their secrets. It turned into their place when Kai was only 10, stealing the key to the attic door when their mother was out of the house, pulling a chair into their closet, pulling the stairs down, and climbing up, pulling the stairs up with them. It became a habit, Kai was thankful for the stairs. They weren’t religious, not like their mother, but they used to thank god for those stairs on nights when their mother was angry and drunk. They thanked God for the stairs when they sat in the corner crying on nights when they knew their name wasn’t theirs, and they thanked God for giving their father the ability to finish the damned attic before he left. Other than with the attic, Kai had this on-again-off-again relationship with just about everything. For a few weeks, they would be happy, with their friends, ready to face life, prepared for issues, exploring new places. Happy. And then, like a light switch they were gone. Destroying themself and losing everyone, back in the attic.

Kai remembers this one time their friend explained their relationship with the attack as a toxic relationship. Kai would leave, promising they were done with the attic, and then weeks later they were once again locked up there, refusing to let anyone in, hiding in their attic, with the memories and things that had added up there over the years. Everything they needed was up there. At 14 They got two jobs using all the money for the attic. Painting the walls blue, buying beanbags, games, carpet, and anything else you could possibly need. Their friends laughed at them when they found out Kai had even saved up enough money to buy a minifridge which they got on sale for about $250.

Their attic was home to them. More of a home than the one below the floor where their mother drank, smoked and screamed, only sober for work, but even then hardly. Under the Floorboards, Kai is still a child, stuck at 5 when their father left, not the 17-year-old they are now. Under the floorboards to the attic, Kai is a child with a broken empty heart, crying under their bed as their mother and father with broken hearts and promises fight and throw plates and cups at each other. Under the floorboards Kai is young and broken and hurt, their mother is torn apart and hurting, and their father is six countries away happy forgetting his life before, loving the sibling's Kai will never meet. But up in the Attic, Kai is happy, awake, smiling, strong. Kai is safe.

It was Kai’s personal resort, their permanent hotel, their house free of rent. The house with no doorbell as their friends called it. A door no one could reach. Like a child’s secret fort no one knew the password to. Their own safety, while doubling as their self-built living hell. The one place they could smile while simultaneously self-destructing and pathetically abandoning everyone around them.

Kai has always had a strange relationship with many things. People, Places, and even themselves. They never really felt connected to any of it. The one place Kai ever felt accepted is in their heaven and their hell. Their love and their hate. Their joy and sadness. Their self-built shit hole. The attic. Their house with no doorbell and a password no one knows.