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Home Sweet Home

Sometimes, when I am deeply sad and awake late at night, I will cry out for a home that does not exist. A home that never existed. What a terrible feeling, wanting to return to a place I never had, to a feeling I never felt, to people I never knew. I cry out, “I want to go home” but there is no home. There never was, and there never will be, because no matter how hard I try, despite all that I put in, I cannot make a home. Nobody will let me. I am homeless while living indoors, and it’s a broken, busted feeling that eats away at me, like perpetually unfulfilled termites gnawing through my wooden bones.

I can see it. The place that never was, that home. If I shut my eyes and concentrate, I can see what should have been. A small warm place, safe and serene, filled with love and support, and all the things you will never allow me to have. Things that, if I could buy from a store, you would force me to return for credit. All I want is something of my own, somewhere that doesn’t make me feel like a foreigner in the place that I hail from, a prisoner in the place that I chose to inhabit, but it’s never a thing that will be. Like rain drying on hot cement, my tears disappear into the cloth of my shirt, and I remain a nomad. Searching. Wanting. Never having.

Sometimes I want to run away, run back home, to a place that doesn’t exist. Pack a bag and hitch a ride, because I would rather trust a stranger, as a stranger is just someone who hasn’t hurt me yet. I want to run back home, to a bedroom I never had, filled with things I never owned; the setting of impossible memories and nonexistent special moments. Why do I want to go home, instead of trying to make one? Because nobody will let me. Because no matter how many bricks I put in the walls, someone knocks it down. A foreman comes and claims it’s unstable and it must be redone. I am not an architect, but I think I know a blueprint when I see one.

I want a home.

But all you offer me is apartments.

I am in a very bad state these days. If anyone is willing to talk to me, feel free to comment. I could certainly use some uplifting, positive vibes from nice people.

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I’m Maggie. If you like this thing I made, you might like some other things I’ve done, like my 2015 novel “You Ruined Everything”, my podcast network “The Feel Bad Network” or my feed over at Ello. You can also find some published work for sale over at my Payhip , buy prints/stickers and more at my online store on Big Cartel, or support my work at my Patreon! Anything helps & is appreciated, thanks!

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Hazel Finds A Kitchen

technologiesHazel Klepper had been house hunting for what felt like months now.

Every single house she saw, something felt wrong to her, and this annoyed her boyfriend to no end. He just couldn’t fathom what it was she was searching for, or what tiny little detail would derail their next purchase. The bathroom doesn’t get enough natural light? There isn’t a big enough backyard for the dog? It was starting to drive him mad. Yet, Hazel kept her calm, and she kept looking; responding to listings and meeting with realtors, going to open houses and surveying the area. Only, time and time again, to come away with a sense of disappointment. She’d never find what she was looking for. So what did Hazel want? She wanted a kitchen.

As a little girl, she spent a lot of time with her grandmother, who enjoyed cooking. Hazel would sit on the counter while her grandmother baked and told her stories, and sometimes she’d even get to help make dinner or make her grandpa some lunch. These were the happiest memories Hazel had. As she got older, she would sit in the kitchen late into the evening, just to not be at home and listen to her parents scream at one another, and trying to finish her homework. Sometimes her grandpa would stay up with her, help her with history or geography, and together they’d have an absolute blast, eating snacks and talking about schoolwork. When Hazel decided she wanted to go to school to become a chef, she asked her grandmother for her recipes, but her grandmother did her one better…she showed her how to cook. She took Hazel into her kitchen, her small kitchen with the red brick floor and the old bread box, and she showed her how to make every single thing she’d ever made for her to eat, and more.

And then, during Hazels sophomore year at college, her grandparents died, mere weeks apart from one another. Her grandmother went first, as a result of an ongoing cold, and her grandfather died two weeks later, simply from heartbreak. Hazel was there when the house was being set up for sale, and she took photos of the kitchen and vowed that, one day, she would have a kitchen just like this one. But despite all the meetings, all the houses, all the months searching, Hazel still hadn’t found her kitchen.

The house she pulled up to that crisp, fall, Thursday afternoon was small, but she didn’t mind that. She preferred cozy to overly large. The realtor, a nice woman with a bob haircut named Susan, met her at the door and together they went inside. Susan showed her the living room, the bathrooms, the bedrooms, the backyard, but all Hazel could feel was that this was yet another waste of time. When Susan finally showed her the kitchen, Hazel felt her heart skip a beat. This was it. The layout was almost exactly the same, give or take the position of the cabinets, and the color scheme was damn near identical. Hazel wouldn’t believe her eyes. Suddenly she didn’t care about the rest of the house, she was transported back to a feeling she hadn’t felt since childhood, and all that mattered from this point on was this kitchen. This was where she’d make dinners for her family, holiday meals for her relatives, desserts for her children. This was the place she would have a life. Hazel signed a check that afternoon and went to tell her boyfriend the good news. Sure, some of the other parts of the house needed some fixing up, but that was alright.

Because the kitchen…oh, the kitchen was perfect.

And for Hazel, that meant life would be perfect too.

Buy My Book!  Support Me Via Patreon!  Visit My Online Store!

I’m Maggie. If you like this thing I made, you might like some other things I’ve done, like my 2015 novel “You Ruined Everything”, my podcast network “The Feel Bad Network” or my feed over at Ello. You can also find some published work for sale over at my Payhip , buy prints/stickers and more at my online store on Big Cartel, or support my work at my Patreon! Anything helps & is appreciated, thanks!

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Conversating With Walls

When I was about 14, I was having a lot of trouble with school and at home, mostly emotionally. At school, I was being bullied, harassed and made fun of on a day to day basis, sometimes to the point where often, I would ask to be excused if I was put into a group project to use the restroom, and then never come back until class let out. Anywhere I could find a way to slither off and be alone, I took it, and my parents were sadly of no help. They didn’t know what to do, and frankly I’m unsure if my stepfather cared whatsoever, so they put me into therapy a multitude of times, on and off different medications, and felt they were totally at a loss.

During this time, I became exceedingly attached to a doll I had bought at a store. It was a small felt doll with blonde hair and a black dress, and she was attached to a keychain. She was maybe 5 dollars, but she was attached to my backpack, my jeans, basically anywhere I could clip her, she was and she went everywhere with me as a result. So, when I started confiding in this doll, it worried my parents. The thing is, I never once thought she was a real person or could really hear me, but when your parents won’t talk to you, and you have no friends, and you don’t trust your therapist…a doll quickly becomes the one thing that you can talk to. It won’t talk back to you. It won’t reject you. It just listens. I just needed someone to listen to me.

But, this wasn’t just attached to the doll. I started talking to myself everywhere, especially in my bedroom, even when people were home. I just began having whole conversations back and forth with myself, because it allowed me to get things out of my head, to analyze them and calm myself down. I talked to walls. I talked to my dog. I talked to strangers on the internet. I talked to anything that listened. As I said, when nobody will talk to you, and the ones who will you don’t trust because they hurt you, you will take any chance to talk to anything. So, I’d sit in my driveway at night sometimes and relay my entire day to this doll, or sit in my room after school some days when I was home alone and talk to the walls about my current feelings regarding my home life at that moment.

Let’s be honest, a house knows you better than anyone else. It sees you in your most primal, your most honest, your most…you. It sees everything you do, it hears everything you say, it’s always there for you and keeps you safe. I talk to my houses. I talk to my walls. Sometimes I would toss a tennis ball against our garage door and talk openly to the garage door about how sad I was feeling that day.

These days though, I have a girlfriend I can confide in and of course I have social media but I rarely use it for anything other than linking things I like or create. The internet is an introverts best friend. But, because of these things, I don’t really talk to myself as much anymore. I’d like to. Sometimes I do, like in the shower or on the rare chance I find myself alone. There’s a thing called Touch Deprivation where you can suffer from not being physically touched enough either through hugs or some other form of touch. Obviously this doesn’t effect everyone, but I’d like to think there’s a verbal aspect that’s like that. Verbal Deprivation, where if you do not get to talk — either to yourself or someone else in some way — enough, then you start to feel very bad. I don’t know why there wouldn’t be something like that. Perhaps this is what I was suffering from, who knows. All I know is that when nobody else would talk to me, I would just talk to myself.

I still talk to myself. I still talk to my dog. I still talk to the walls.

But, it’s nice that they’re no longer my only option. I sometimes think though, of all the things everywhere I’ve lived has heard. I think of all the secrets, the sob stories, the yelling that I have left behind. Sometimes I miss the places I live in more than I miss people I knew (probably because the people hurt me, and the places didn’t). When my grandmother died, we had to sell her house. My grandfather moved in with my aunt and uncle, and everyone got together to sell her house and clean it out, and all I cared about was going around and documenting the place. I was the only one who took pictures for keepsakes. I shot the garden, the backroom, the guest room, their bedroom, the living room, the bathroom. To this day, even without the photos, I can still recall every square inch of that house, and not just because I spent so much time there but because it was the one place I had in my life that surrounded me with positive feelings, and love and happiness. It was the one place that heard someone say they love me and mean it, the one place to see me be hugged by people who loved me; my grandparents.

A while after the house was sold, I debated going by it and seeing the place, but in the end, I decided against it. Much like seeing someone you haven’t seen in ages, or keeping a loved ones memory the way you want, I didn’t want to see how it’d changed. What it’d become. Besides, it wasn’t my place anymore to talk to. Someone else was talking to it now. Was making new memories and conversations with it. I don’t know where I’ll eventually feel most comfortable talking to nothing again in the future, but I know I will one day, and it’ll be okay. Speak. Speak to yourself, to nothing, to everything and everyone.

God if these walls could talk.

[This is a repost from a Medium article I wrote.]

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I’m Maggie. If you like this thing I made, you might like some other things I make, like my depressing webcomic “In Space, No One Can Hear You Cry”, my podcast network “The Feel Bad Network” or my writing over at Medium. You can also find some published work for sale over at my Payhip or support my work at my Patreon! Anything helps & is appreciated, thanks!

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Michael & Gina Sit On The Roof

technologiesMichael had been up here so many times in his life, watching the stars or waiting for fireworks with a good view. This roof had become as familiar to him as his own house had, except he’d spent so much more time here, at Lucy’s, that it almost felt more like home than his own home had. He glanced over his shoulder at the sound of someone coming onto the roof behind him, only to see his friend Gina crawling up to sit beside him, handing him a coffee mug and holding one for herself. Michael took the mug and took a long sip as Gina settled herself beside him on the roof.

“I think I’ve spent more time on this roof than I have inside the house, oddly enough,” Michael said, and Gina smirked.

“Yeah, I know what you mean,” she said, “This roof has seen so much more action than anywhere I’ve ever lived. You remember Lillian Burk? That girl I was in band with in high school, the sort of gothy one?”

“Yeah, I remember her,” Michael said.

“I brought her up here on New Years and kissed her,” Gina said, smiling as she looked down at the coffee she was swirling in her mug, “She ended up not being into it in the end, but it’s a very vivid, happy memory for me. This roof is where I had my first kiss.”

“Did you ever tell Lucy that?” Michael asked and Gina laughed.

“God, no, never. No, Lucy and I weren’t the sort of secret sharing best friends everyone seems to be in love with concept wise. No, we were more like the ‘let’s go to college together and be eachothers bridesmaids’ sort of best friends.”

“I remember when Kyle Lowman fell off this roof,” Michael said, taking another long sip from his mug, “Remember that?”

“I do remember that!” Gina said loudly, pointing at him, “I remember he was getting angry at Tally Spimoni for something, and he lost his footing and slid off the roof into the bushes below! He wasn’t even hurt, but he acted like he was, and of course that made Tally be all apologetic and shit. God, those two belonged together.”

A long pause came over them, as the cool summer air picked up, wafting past them, turning the weather vane on the roof a bit, the both of them watching.

“Everyone’s gone now,” Gina said, “Some are dead, some just moved and lost touch with, the only one we had left really was Lucy, and her roof. I don’t want to lose the roof. I’ve already lost my best friend.”

“They’re going to sell the house, you know that,” Michael said.

“I don’t see why we don’t just pool our money and-”

“Yeah, I can barely afford my rent, let alone half a house,” Michael said, interrupting her before she got too attached to the idea like she usually did, “No, I mean, I’m right there with you, this roof has been a major part of my life for so long, I don’t want to lose it either, but…but we’re going to, and we just need to accept that. You know, I lost my virginity up here.”

“What?!”

“Yeah,” Michael said, chuckling, “Yeah, to Carmen Tortona, from Saint Marys, remember her?”

“You lost it to a girl from a catholic school? Wow, that’s impressive,” Gina said.

“She wasn’t very catholic as it turned out,” Michael said, “But it was like, sometime in the fall, early October, and we were over here hanging out and we were seniors, I remember that, and I think we were here pet sitting cause Lucy had to go visit her grandma or something, and her parents asked me to watch the dog, so obviously I invited a girl over to a house I had all to myself a week.”

“What a casanova,” Gina said, grinning.

“Well,” Michael replied, “I do what I can for the ladies. But we were up here, and it was like one in the morning or something, and we were talking about graduation and stuff and, I don’t know, it just sort of came up that we were both still virgins, and that we liked one another enough and that we both could’ve ended up having our first time with worse people so why not do it with eachother, right?…it was nice.”

Another long pause, as Gina looked at her nails.

“Did you see Lucy after she got sick?”

“A few times,” Michael said, “Did you?”

“I couldn’t,” Gina said, “I feel awful about it, but she told me it was fine if I couldn’t stomach it. The worst part is when she told me she was going to die, I was sad but the first thing that ran through my head was ‘oh no, we’re going to lose her house’. Am I a bad person?”

“Buildings are important to people,” Michael said, shrugging, “I mean, I don’t get it but it’s true. A lot of times, when people recount memories, what they don’t realize is that the memory isn’t so much about when or how it happened or with whom it happened, but where it happened. That’s what actually helps you remember, is the setting. That’s why you were scared of losing the house when she told you she was sick, because this is where so many formative moments in your life occurred, right here, on this goddamned roof. You don’t want to lose that, nobody would.”

Another pause, and then Michael laughed and looked at Gina.

“Let’s take a shingle, each,” he said, “That way, we’ll always have some of the roof with us. Often times these homes when they get sold end up getting redone anyway, so why not? Nobody’s going to miss a few lousy shingles.”

“That’s a good idea,” Gina said, as the two of them got onto their knees and started prying some of the looser shingles free from the roof. They then picked the ones they liked best, and each took one. As they sat there, staring at their respective shingles, Michael sighed.

“Don’t worry,” he said, finishing his coffee, “There will always be other roofs, and there will always be other Lucy’s, cruel as it may sound, but there will never be another Lucy’s roof.”

Gina smiled, stood up and held her hand out. Michael took it, as she helped him up, and the two of them headed down from the roof, through the house, locking it up and out to their cars. Standing there, in the driveway, Gina looked at Michael.

“I’m hungry, you want to go get something to eat?”

“I could eat, yeah,” he replied, “You pick and I’ll just follow you.”

“Okay.”

The two got into their cars and drove away. As they left, Michael couldn’t help but glance at his rearview mirror, back at Lucy’s roof one final time, and smiled. He didn’t mean by his statement that Lucy wasn’t special or unique or that she could be easily replaced. Everyone was special and unique and couldn’t be easily replaced. He just meant that there would never be another roof like Lucy’s. One that held so much history of their youth, of their time spent together, their friendship. Other roofs would hold other history, the start of their own families, their own holiday traditions, their eventual children’s youths, but there would never be another like this roof. Yes, there will always be other roofs, other Lucy’s.

But there would never be another Lucy’s roof.

Hey, I’m Maggie. You like this thing I made? Then you might like other things I make, like my depressing webcomic “In Space, No One Can Hear You Cry”, or my writing over at Medium. You can also donate at the PayPal or follow/support my work on Patreon! Anything given will go to paying my rent and groceries, and be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading!

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Jessica Throws Herself Down A Well

technologiesJessica Thrush stretched her arm out over its pitch black opening, only barely lit by the dim flashlight she had shaking in her other hand, and opened her clenched fist to allow the pebbles to fall into the well.

After a few minutes, she heard them hit the ground, faintly, and smiled to herself. She put the flashlight on the edge of the well, and took her brown leather jacket off, tossing it on the ground. She then began to pace back and forth as she started to put her hair up in a ponytail, mumbling to herself. She finally stopped, looked at the well and approached it again, leaning over, looking back down the hole. She walked farther away, flashlight in hand, and then beamed it back at the dilapidated house, the shingles sliding off the roof, the paint peeling, the windows somewhat broken. She felt herself get choked up, and quickly shut it down. Jessica started to head towards the house, and pushed on the door, but it wouldn’t budge. She put all her strength into her right shoulder and pushed her way through, realizing that some boards from the second floor had fallen down and wedged themselves between the floor and the door, causing it to be stuck.

As Jessica looked around at the house that used to be hers, recognizing that nobody else had been here in years. She let her flashlights faded beam dance across the rotting wallpaper, landing on the fireplace mantel, where it finally settled on a box sitting on the mantel. Jessica walked over to it and cautiously removed it from the mantel, then made her way to the middle of the living room, sitting down in the middle of the floor, cross legged, and put the end of the flashlight in her mouth. She slowly opened the old box, and inside was a twirling ballerina. The old music she’d left here was still here, and still functional. She wiped the tears from her eyes, her mascara rubbing off on the sides of her hand, and stood up, heading upstairs now.

This was where it’d all been. The only good memories she’d had of her life. Not because of the people she was with here, but because of the place itself. Because of how good the place had made her feel. In the open fields at night, looking at the stars, and in the open fields in the day, looking for birds. Sitting in the upstairs bedroom with her sister, reading or doing puzzles. Sitting with their parents at the breakfast table, laughing and happy. But that was then, and this was now, and now the house was gone, her family was gone, and her will was gone.

When she opened the door to her old bedroom, she half expected to see her sister sitting inside, still reading magazines or listening to records on their grandpas old record player, but no. It was just as empty and run down as every other part of the house. On the old desk they’d left behind, she ran her fingertips across a phrase they’d etched into the wood the night before they left. “Home again, home again, jiggity jig.” She let a smirk skip across her lips as she read it, and then looked at where their old bed was. The place they sat, discussing their first kisses, her sisters first time, and were read stories by their mom at night. But once again, it wasn’t so much the people involved, as much as it was the bed itself. The room. This place had once held so much light, and now it was black as the depths of space itself. After a few moments of running her palm across the decaying wallpaper with the carousel horses on it, she finally let herself head back downstairs.

As Jessica exited the house, she put the music box on the edge of the well and took a long, deep breath. Why wouldn’t she be buried with her family? Why wouldn’t she want to be with them, if she’d loved them so much? Because Jessica wanted to be here. She wanted her final resting place to be the place she’d been happiest. This, to her, was where her life had began, and where she wanted it to end. Jessica walked back to the well, looked into the hole again and sighed. Home isn’t just a place, it’s a feeling, and no place had given her that feeling like this one had. This was her home. This was her casket. Besides, if you believed in the afterlife, she didn’t have to be buried with her family anyway, she’d see them no matter where her physical body landed.

“Home again, home again, jiggity jig,” she muttered under her breath as she shut her eyes, clenched her fists and let herself lean forward, falling headfirst into the well to her death.

This is the first piece in a series I’m doing called “Irrational Attachment To Places”, mostly inspired by this Medium article I wrote recently. These will continue sporadically here and on Medium. If you liked this, you could also check out my webcomic, “In Space, No One Can Hear You Cry”, or my communal site “Sad Party”, where I encourage others to share their sadness so others don’t feel alone.

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There’s No Room For Me

I can remember every single room I’ve ever been in.

It doesn’t matter where it was; family members room, friends room, my room, parents room, classroom, etc. Any room. Not even bedrooms, either, no, it extends to bathrooms, kitchens, garages. It doesn’t matter. If there was a room and I was in it, I can recall every single detail about it down to the rivets in the goddamned floorboards. What’s really “funny” about this is that I actually have a rather sketchy memory. A lot of my adolescence I’ve actually blocked for my own sake and then there’s just a lot I don’t remember in general, but I can remember every. single. fucking. room.

I’m sentimental, that much has been made abundantly clear from this blog by this point I’d think, but even so, I’m amazed at what I can recall. For a major example, one of the few friends I had growing up, his mother was an apartment manager and they moved around the city alot, which meant he wound up occupying multiple bedrooms in multiple apartments and all within a 3 or 4 year radius. I remember every single one. I remember the one overlooking the parking lot and the dumpsters with the big window, I remember the one right by the pool that was essentially filled with nothing but his futon bed, and I remember the one in the small house they rented when we first met. I remember them all.

And yet, despite all of this, I have never once felt at home in any one of them. How sad is that? A lifetime of rooms, even my own bedrooms, and I have never once felt at home in any of them. Maybe one day I will find my room. Maybe I won’t. Who knows. All I DO know is that I can remember these rooms better than I can remember relatives I knew for years or ‘friends’ I’d had forever. Voices. Faces. All lost to time. Rooms, though, rooms are the constant.

I think it’s because a room is something you yourself occupy; your energy, your space, and so you’re fit to remember it, even if it isn’t your own room. So, for the sake of some transparency for once, here’s some of my old rooms. Enjoy.

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