When I’m not checking for cracks, I like to lie on my stomach watching the earthworms on the other side of the floor. You’d be surprised how comfortable glass can be when you get used to it. You couldn’t see earthworms under our old home — it had carpets and foundations and things. It was a pretty house, with its original 1930s windows and front door, and the long back garden with lilacs and that greenhouse we always meant to use. ‘Our forever home’, we cooed, in the baby-talk we picked up from our friends.
It wasn’t forever for long. Bits fell off. At first, it was just the odd doorknob. Nothing to be overly concerned about. Then, one still and cloudless afternoon, the chimney flew away. You said it was normal for chimneys to fly away, and that if we were patient it would probably fly back. When the roof came off in armfuls of slate and rafter and purlin you said I was catastrophising as usual, but it was bloody cold, even with my coat on. One night I caught you chiselling out the mortar between the bricks of the bedroom wall and you snarled that you were under a lot of pressure and besides, I was imagining it. I didn’t walk away until the night the external walls fell in. You stayed in your armchair, pointing the remote control at where the television used to be.
My new house is made of glass. Cast glass: all-of-a-piece. No doors, no windows, no service runs. No points of entry for the rot to creep in. Structural glass fins keep it stable. When it was completed, I couldn’t get inside. I commissioned a specialist engineer to design a glass trapdoor with glass hinges in the glass floor. I crawl through a tunnel under the lawn to reach it. Once I’m inside my new glass house, oxygen tanks help me breathe.
For privacy, I can press a button to turn the walls opaque, but I seldom bother: the transparent quality of glass has many benefits. There are no dark corners; no secret fissures. I can survey the entire structure continuously from wherever I’m standing, except those parts of the floor that are hidden under my furniture. I inspect these separately, periodically. Every four hours. I go to sleep after the midnight inspection and set my alarm for the next one at 4a.m. Vigilance is essential. If so much as the tiniest of fractures appears in any part of the structure I am certain I will shatter completely.
S.A. Greene writes micro and flash in Derbyshire, UK. Words have been published in Flash Flood ’21; Sledgehammer Lit. and are forthcoming in Janus Literary Review (Sept. ’21). Her entry in the Retreat West May Micro Comp. won the People’s Vote. @SAGreene1