Since living, well, squatting in a church, I’ve lived opposite all kinds of churches, seems to me I can’t find a house which isn’t opposite a church. From my window I’ve watched the cold stones grow wet with rain. I never face the church; instead I find it facing me, secrets obverted from shadow only to recoil with the instant. And we sit exchanging a stare as cold as the stones. Now I keep the curtains drawn, but it’s still there, holding my home in place, compelling as only a vacuum could be. Nothing to be ignored. Its presence is silence, four walls of strip-‐lit silence, and the bells and the hymns cannot belie this truth. Silence is how it grabs the eyes, how it speaks, and when I speak, it is right there behind the words. When people flood out of the doors, as though regurgitated, it remains unaffected, for it cannot be filled. Which is not to say that other things—my home, for example—appear to burst with life. No. But few things are as stagnant as the unkept pond in the cemetery out back. Even in summer when I catch light of a church entrenched in colour, it looks like ruins, like a gaunt priest in coloured robes. I want to get lost inside. I want to kneel below its stained windows with the smoke of incense thickening the painted light. There is a homeless man living, or I should say squatting, in the church opposite my house. Often I think about sneaking in, maybe sharing a drink. I want to ask if he’s a saviour. But I don’t. Because I know he can’t answer.
There was a car passing in the window behind her and it caught my eye, dragging it beyond the frame. She thought I was looking at her because she was looking at me. And though her face was stoic, I saw, beneath her skin, between the finespun fictions of sexual demography, a creature whose voracity exploded form and refused content. But I couldn’t look further, because outside the outside is inside. I plucked a piece of lint from my sleeve. People were talking about death and I was thinking about death, then her, then death, then both. The room was motionless save for the hourglass descent of cigarette ash. Outside, one Death assumed an infinity of Halloween costumes, knocking and knocking on the front door to demand more sugar. “Our house is quite savoury,” my friend said. They made eyes at each other. Children are terrifying, I thought. They’re the future. She moved closer to me and I saw a galaxy of lint magnetized to her skirt. The moments continued—each detained by the flickering light. She looked afraid and I wanted to reach out and touch her, but it felt good not to. I wanted to comfort her, but I liked the fear or the dread that possessed her. I wanted to see what things that mysterious feeling would drive her to do. If we wake up tomorrow, I said to myself, we will go out and later we will come back. We will eat dinner and we will fuck. When we finish, that fear or dread will creep back in and I will watch it come. She poured a drink. A grinning pumpkin went dark as its candle was snuffed out in a wax puddle. Another car passed in the window behind her, catching my eye.