The Man in my Kitchen

There is a man in my kitchen. Or something like a man, or perhaps something like the shadow of a man. I can’t ever see him clearly, but he’s there, tucked neatly between the humming refrigerator and crumb-covered counter. He is always catching my eye; when I walk down the hallway, when I cross the uneven living room floor, when I brush my teeth in the morning. I see him as I close cupboard doors. I see him before I turn out the lights.

He’s taller than most, more still than anyone, and impossibly fast. When my breath catches, when my heart beats twice in one moment, I snap my face in his direction. But each time he shifts slyly away, sliding just ahead of my eyes, always out of sight. His form never solidifies, it simply vanishes. And I tell myself over the thumping in my rib cage, stop getting worked up over nothing. Stop fearing lights and shadows and angles.

We were one drink away from hammered when I asked you, “Did you see him? Just there, did you see a person standing in my kitchen?” You looked at me with worry carving lines into your forehead and answered, no. No, you didn’t see anything.

But I do.

For 21 days he’s stood there, and I tell myself at least he’s standing—not moving, not reaching. I try not to notice him, and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I only see an off-white wall, and a matching fridge, and a pizza magnet urging me to dial now for great deals. Still, a part of me, the part of me that hates the dark and can’t stand open basement doors, is afraid. I’m afraid that one day soon I’ll turn to look and he’ll be closer than I thought.

I am afraid he will leave the kitchen.

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