You’ve assuredly heard the expression “If walls could talk.”
There is an old house down a forgotten road that we all know. It’s a simple thing. Remarkable only for how truly unremarkable it actually is. It’s a structure that one could easily miss, even in its place of isolation. Sometimes it is those things which are most apparent that we struggle the utmost to see. Other times our efforts lie not in the seeing but in the purposefully not seeing. This old house finds itself on either side of the spectrum depending on the passerby. There are, naturally, not many of those to go around these days. This is a forgotten road and a forgotten home, after all. Thus the old house stands. Still. Barren. Decaying. Behind its walls lies a truth for the taking, but no one cares to venture there. Sometimes we choose to keep the forgotten, forgotten. So in the place of these absent intrepid wanderers we must insert ourselves, you and I. We will push open the old door that groans in protest against its singular purpose. Breathe deep of the musty air. Feel the wave of nostalgia for a past we never knew, taste the cusp of hopes long lost or manifest. We belong in this place, but it is not our place. We are merely guests here.
The space we find ourselves in is plain. All vestiges of the world that once thrived here have long been stripped away by clawing hands or the winds of time. Only the house itself remains. It is a chamber against the world without, a stalwart bastion for the echoes of the world within. We pull air into our lungs through our nose, a pleasant sense of age muddled somewhat by the acridity of rot. We will turn our focus to this rot in time, but for now we think about those who came before us. While we now stand still in the semidarkness as if specters, the true ghosts of lives past and gone move invisibly around us. There was a time in which life thrummed within these walls. New lives were created, old lives moved on, but this old home served as the epicenter of it all. It was the anchor in the turbulent storm of life. A gathering place for those tethered to one another by choice or fate.
This was a happy place, for sure. We sense that. The idle noises of the Earth slowly reclaiming its offerings abide us with a sense of peace. We do not fear this place. No terrible dark history hangs over it. No malicious creatures bare their fangs at us from the shadowy corners. We know that those who came before us were people as tied to this place as we are to our own homes, no matter what form those homes may be. We are not truly the same as these echoes, but we understand them. We know that these walls harbored their triumphs and sorrows, but more than anything we know that this place was where they lived. They strove for a better future. We may not be able to discern through the spinning threads of fate what that future was, but we know they sought it. This old home offers no clues into whether or not this future was ascertained or lost. The destination ultimately doesn’t matter. We are still as we grow more in tune with the home around us. We sense something deeper. Something darker. No, this isn’t a place of evil, but we know that under the dust and the dreams there is a rot in the place. We do not speak of the green and black mold crawling its way across the walls or seeping its way into the widening cracks of the floor. We speak of something deeper.
Here lies the rot of mundanity. A palpable fear in the hidden specters of a existential meaningless that lurks just beyond the perception of man. The feeling of near-cosmic doom that stirs in the pit of your stomach as you look out over a dark ocean of leviathans with an infathomable depth; at the black storm which tears between the towering titans of mountains as if a rampaging colossus. The haunting feeling that even with your anchor in the sea of life, that horrors lurk below the surface of our understanding. We empathize with those who came before, even though we do not fully understand how or why we do so. In truth it is because we know this rot too well. We too know of this doubt. The fear that no matter what one believes, hopes, or achieves that all of it is ultimately meaningless. We may rage against these notions with our higher minds and we may build walls around us to offer a modicum of stability in a world we only pretend to understand. But, as we lay our heads down to rest, we know – even if we do not acknowledge this knowing – that the rot creeps in around us. This old home is no different.
It is a good old house. It served its purpose well, and even now in absence of that purpose it carries on in spite of itself. We find ourselves drained. Unlike those who came before, we have the option to depart, and so we do. We pull the door closed and listen for the rusty sound of the latch closing. We wince in the newfound brightness of the day, though we welcome the warmth of the sun. Yet even in its presence we struggle against the vaguest fear of some rot intrinsic to us. We do not, however, remember this rot, only that it was something we thought of in that old house we left behind. We do not remember it, but at some level we still know it is there. We decide not to dwell on such things, perhaps it is simply better not to examine this fear too closely. We head back out into the world beyond, only faintly remembering why we came.
It’s not that walls cannot talk, it’s that we choose not to listen.
The song selection for this week is The Ordinary World by The Hit House. Taken from the soundtrack of The Evil Within 2.
This is a cover of a Duran Duran song Ordinary World, though I vastly prefer this version and thought it was quite fitting for this post.
Until next time,