Tonight it is raining & every drop knocks on the window pane like an distant relative you never learnt the name of. When the first one arrives & calls himself Guilt, you tell yourself you will not let him settle in. Six months later & the teacups still leave marks on the wooden table, circling out every mistake you have ever carved into yourself. You have learnt to avoid the kettle because Guilt is coming up with new brews which he always makes you taste, & you do not like the bitterness they leave on your teeth.

A year after the first arrival comes Nostalgia, suitcases packed full of broken jewelry from past lovers, photo albums & the inexplicable feeling that one is missing. There is something in her posture that makes her look almost attractive, like a dulled sapphire that still reflects in the soft bedroom light. You are intrigued by the precious stones she hides in the lining of her long hair, & soon enough you two are closer than you planned. Nostalgia takes to leafing through photos, staying in bed & drinking Guilt’s brew. There is something changing in her loins, as if she is keeping some strange secret.

& so, on an ordinary autumn day, the child is born. Nostalgia calls him Sadness but you only call him Child. He does not want to be held, grows up too fast. His tears turn from wails into cries & soon there is nothing but a faint sobbing coming from the bathtub. Sadness has forgotten itself & Guilt is trying his best to take care of him, bathing him in acrid brew & scrubbing the frown out from his bones with the raspy breath of the words you could not take back.

When Sadness was still young, Nostalgia would invite the cousins to play. Every time Anger comes around she makes a mess, topples the tables & teacups, drowns the jewelry down the drain, burns the photographs. Black streaks line the walls from her last visit. After her latest absence, you believe she'd moved away, too far to call. The months pass & the cold has settled in the house. There are stains on the coach that Sadness has not bothered washing off. The circles on the table extend to the mantelpiece, extend to the stools, extend to the floor. There is mold in the bathtub corners, growing on the trinkets & fake pearls scattered on the bathroom tiles. Nostalgia has given up on the photographs & now stares at the wall. The bed has molded around her frail body & the sheets shackle her ankles.

Nowhere feels at home, except the chair next to the corridor window. It is a high, sealed window, but on some days, like today, the sun draws a perfect square of vagary: your face flooded with light, everyone else asleep. In the other room, the kettle whistles.


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CAROLINE GRAND-CLEMENT is a sixteen years old, half-time poet, half-time student at an international school in Lyon, France. She dreams of art in any form, falling stars and late night conversations. She takes part in the school magazine as writer and co-editor. She tweets @octopodeshearts.