The jackets in my closet, leather heels, cowboy boots, the cushions on the couch, the curtains, mould like black lace is creeping between them, all over them. Invading my house from the inside. Black splotches are stretching over the ceiling. Like storm clouds heavy with rain.
Or the black billow that streams from the smokestack at the hospital. That's where they burn the diseased body parts, the amputated limbs, cancerous growths, cysts with teeth and tufts of hair in them, the unwanted fetuses and the beloved ones gone bad. It's like the hospital's flag, flying high over the city, so even in the park where life should be picturesque, you can see it.
I chase the mould with an armful of cleaning products and a bucket of hot water that quickly turns textured and blackened. I can smell it.
We've moved out of our bedroom and into the lounge. The mould is still there, but the air isn't thick with it. Our bedroom is unusable.
It's a beautiful old bungalow. But what can you do? Legally, the landlords don't have to do a damn thing.
The walls are thin. Our next door neighbour is in his 30s, tall and spindly, a crop of orange hair, he lives alone, slams his door, stomps around the house. I hear him yelling into the phone at night. He's perpetually angry. His anger seeps through the walls.
One time he screamed through the wall "shut up you fucking cunt" because I went to the bathroom. I think he might be mad. His mother pays his rent, cooks for him and cleans his house. She doesn't live with him, but she spends several hours there each day. She is angry too. She stands on the front porch and glares at me.
Two months ago, I awoke to a blood-chilling scream. It was coming from the flat through the wall. My boyfriend leapt out of bed, grabbed a baseball bat and ran underpant-clad next door.
The angry neighbour had woken up to a man dressed in black and wearing a balaclava, standing in his bedroom beside his bed, watching him as he slept. Like an ominous shadow. When he woke, the man turned and walked out of his room. Thinking maybe he was dreaming, he followed him, down the hall, towards the back door, through the kitchen. The man stopped, and turned. When he screamed, the man took a step towards him.
That was when my boyfriend came crashing around the corner and the man took off. They chased him down the street. But the man had a bicycle hidden in the long grass at the corner. He jumped on it, and was gone.
The street was quiet. Despite the yells, no one else had come to help. The police didn't even turn up.
After that, the next door neighbour stopped shouting abuse through the wall. But he still lies about us to the landlords. He still listens with his ear to the wall.
The 6 month lease is almost up. I can't wait to move.
I'm looking for sunshine.