I’m writing to you from the inside of a wooden cupboard thirty five years ago. The corners are swept clean. They are solid and sharp, exactly as corners should be. Sitting cross-legged, the bottom shelf can hold me with the doors pulled closed, I only need to bend my neck a little, a swan eying the surface of the water. I have nudged objects aside to enter and though the darkness is carbon black, I know what the shelves hold without looking. Extra linens, stacked like soldiers, proud chests held high. Rubber bands rolled into balls bigger than my hand. How unlucky, I thought, to be any but the outer. But hadn’t they all been on the outside to begin with and then buried and slowly squeezed tighter? They would never see the light of day again and I had the sudden urge to unravel them to the core, to free the captives.
I need to describe the basement which holds the cupboard, to let it break my heart. If I descend the wooden stairs, open-backed and painted pine needle green, to stand on cold gray concrete at the bottom, a pantry door still holds a pocked dart board. It’s slightly askew. So many sharpened tips have found their way into the surface that the numbers were hardly legible, even when I was small. The board had been holding court in that exactly same place since my father was a child. The nail that holds it is large and dark with age. On either side of the dart board, on the wooden flesh of the door, is ample evidence of poor aim.