Fiction from Web del Sol

My Possessions

Brian Evenson

      I got my things, and left. I was seeing the place for the final time, and happy I was. I did not turn around, for I knew the pair of them were there, their pale faces staring dumbly through the glass. I walked straight ahead through the rain, the doubled-up paper bag of my possessions in my arms. Within were my possessions, forced side by side, one atop the another. Completely disorganized, completely. They will never be back in order, I thought. I worried that some of my possessions had already been broken in being forced side by side, one atop the other, into the doubled paper bag. It might have been wiser for me to have stayed in that place, for the sake of my possessions. But I could not stay there, in that place, with Paya and Trollé literally reducing me to nothing. Through their influence I had become less and less a thinking entity, more and more a brute beast. At times, it amazed me that I had not gone mad in that place, though there were days. This day being the last of them, being such a day of days that I had risen quietly to my feet, leaving the post of observation which had been thrust upon me, leaving them one atop of the other in the parlor. I concentrated all my effort on ascending the twelve stairs. I threw my possessions into the doubled paper bag kept under the bed all those years. I descended the stairs, opened the door, threw myself into the rain. The water licked my face, cleansing me, welcoming me. I am leaving forever, I thought. I whispered, forever, forever, forever. I am gone forever, I thought, rephrasing. To assure myself of the truth of this, I stated it aloud several hundred times, I am gone forever, to the surprise of the passersby. I could not blame them for stopping, for I knew only too well the state in which I suffered, the appearance I made after having suffered all those years in that place with Paya and Trollé trying to destroy me. They could not know that now, soaked with rain, I felt my health rush back to me. It was all behind me, they did not know. There behind me, I knew, was the place, with its façade, with its firm, thick door, with its so-called French windows, the inside drapes with folds just so. The wooden slats which separated the small panes of glass would dissect their faces as they stared out the window at my back. I did not look back. I felt them staring. Paya and Trollé: two pale faces framed by thick white hair, fetished by the wooden slats, holding each other fast. They will torture each other now, I thought. I shifted my doubled paper bag in my hands. Now, thought I, they will turn upon each other, they will destroy each other, just as they planned to destroy me. They had approached me under the guise of friendship, though finally, almost too late, I found their friendship was destruction. They opened their arms to consume me, and to consume my possessions. They had coaxed from me my invaluable possessions one by one until now I had little enough left, barely enough left to fill a single, doubled paper bag. Had I not taken my possessions and left, I would soon have had nothing left--of possessions, of self.
      The rain ran down my hair and into my face, and I moved a few steps forward, farther away from them. I hugged my doubled-up paper bag tightly, felt inside of it the shapes of my possessions. All jumbled, probably ruined. I had thrown them into the sack all at once, so as not to lose my opportunity, but Paya and Trollé had not even tried to stop me. I had suffered through them all those years, had felt their eyes on me all those years, yet they did not bother to disentangle themselves from each other when I left. Possibly they did not even miss me. They had no use for me. I was all used up. It had been right for me to leave. Had I not left, they would have thrown me out. I had spent my days attempting to please those once dear, gaining nothing but perpetual abuse, and finally was to be discarded. "A rind of fruit!" I cried, "A mere egg shell!" They had allowed me to leave them on a night pouring rain, and had not even wished me adieu. The soggy bottom of the doubled paper bag dropped out, scattering my possessions over the paving stones. "My possessions!" I cried, falling to my knees. Paya and Trollé watched through the window, laughing at my dilemma. If they watched at all. In all likelihood, they had not even seen my possessions fall, had not seen me fall to my knees. They did not care whether I walked or fell. They were not watching. They were still in the drawing room, still entwined, unaware that I had left the place of observation thrust upon me. I pulled my possessions together, into a heap in the street. Paya and Trollé were tearing their robes open now, I thought, their long hair was loose and streaming around them. They had no need of me. A pillow placed in a chair served just as well. I arranged my possessions in two piles, one unbroken possessions, the other broken possessions. The rain came through my robe, soaking my back, chilling me. The rain ruined my papers and books. I transferred them to pile of broken possessions. No doubt my health would suffer from the exposure. I could still return to that place, I thought, quietly open the door, climb the stairs. I could still enter the parlor, slide into my chair, without their having missed me. I stared at the two piles before me on the ground, the one small useful pile of my possessions, the other large useless pile of my possessions. I looked through the small pile, through the large pile, pushed the piles together. All useless possessions, so many mere things. I scattered my possessions over the cobblestones with my hands and, in rage, turned and looked. Behind me I saw that place pale and luminous, Paya and Trollé in the window, their pane-framed faces staring with the greatest intensity. I looked around me. The street was empty, save for my ruination. I groped my way into a doorway and sat down, out of sight, out of the rain. I possessed nothing. I had nowhere to go.

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