The Domiciles Project



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Reality is a game that I only play when locked inside my home. Once I leave the white steps of my fathers house, everything that I see and say, is nothing more than a pretty picture painted by my parents. A swamp of colors and dots and lines and paint.The real story happens behind the white door of our front porch.
Some people say that a movie can show reality. There was once a time when a video held truth. A picture, however, is created. It holds a story of its own, but that story comes from ones imagination.My life outside of my house is a piece of perfection done by my parents.
My father paints a smile on his face, and a ball to play catch with.
My sister tries to pause the movie before the yelling and shouting between mommy and daddy starts.
My mother colors a kiss into my father’s cheek, and sketches hand knitted mittens.
My brother always fast forwards to the part after the butler comes to tuck him into bed.
I hate the movie inside the box, and I despise the image that has been designed to cover up what is really on the inside. I hate it all. Everybit.
I often wonder… what would it take to destroy it?
* * *
When they found her at the bottom of the stairs that morning, the panic that spread was nothing short of contagious.
The first man that seen her was the butler, Gerald Willis. He was a simple man, waking early to start on the daily chores. The first being waking the children of the house. He never made it up the large staircase, but stopped at the bottom. Where Louis Nenning was curled into a ball, white blond hair fanned along the white marble floor.
She wasn’t dead, thankfully. But then again, maybe this was worse? She might as well have been dead, was being forever asleep better? Nobody had the answer.
Gerald had immediately called the man and lady of the house, who had jumped to the conclusion that their oldest daughter of 17 was faking. Attention was always the reason for everything, wasn’t it?
But Louis wasn’t faking, as they soon learned. The police had concluded that she had fallen down the stairs, the tumble enforcing that she not wake up. Was she pushed? The only people in the house were Nenning family and Gerald Willis. Did she trip? Did she throw herself? Once again nobody had the answer. The only person who knew what had happened to Louis Nenning was the one who had been there. And she was currently locked away in her own head, along with all the answers that everyone wanted and needed.
Louis didn’t hate her parents, she couldn't, they were her family after all. She hated what they had become. The lies and the never ending work.
Her father, Herald Nenning, was once a kind man. Loving, caring and the perfect father. But like any person, he had a taste of fortune and got lost in the claws of greed. It started slowly, with a simple little job in a company of a very old friend, Smither they called him. Soon, he had began distancing himself from the family, eyes focused on one thing. Smither’s fortune.
It had happened as expected, Smither had died of old age, and left his entire business to her father. Herald Nenning worked his way up in social status, focusing all his time and work into making money. He soon became one of the richest men in the west coast, and it didn’t end there.
Like any rich man with his face plastered all over buildings and magazines, Herald Nenning had an image to keep up. He constantly faked some kind of emotion to get the press to believe that his family was no better than the Brady bunch. Loving and patient with every bit of peacefulness that any other people could have.
He had bought the massive white house for the family to live in, hired Geralds Willis as head butler, and brought in maids of all kinds to do his work. Louis hated the house, it was too big and spacious, a reminder of what was in the past.
Her mother was always trying to reason with her father, but he never listened. It was a never ending argument, yelling could constantly be heard from somewhere in the house. And despite how much she denied it, her mother had changed too. No longer did she visit at night to tuck in her younger siblings or ask how their day went. Julia Nenning was always focused on one thing now, getting her husbands attention.
Louis was tired of the sickly smiles and fake “peaceful” dinners that happened at 6:30 every night. The ones her father had demanded they do but never bothered to attend. She wanted her two younger siblings to experience a happy childhood, one like hers had once been. And she was willing to make a sacrifice in order to do it.
These were the very thoughts that ran through Louis head as she stood at the top of the stairs Wednesday night. She wondered if what she was about to do would have the effects she had hoped, if the panic that ensued would bring help her broken family. Would it make it worse? Better? Would it even work?
She had no idea, but even with all the different things that could go wrong, she still flung herself down the stairs.
The hospital had easily identified the cause of the coma, a hard blow to the head, as everyone had expected. Louis had been placed under special care, nurse and doctors constantly checking in. Wondering if the young girl would ever wake up. The biggest question however, was if Herald Nenning or anyone else was ever going to visit his hospitalized daughter.
Rumor had it that he had shut down all trading and business meetings. Cancelled every single one. No one understood why he was locked inside the old white style mansion and had refused to come out, but everyone believed it had something to do with Louis.The rest of the family had pretty much been the same, staying inside and never coming out. The only ones that ever left were the maids and the butler, Gerald.
No one knew what was going on inside the old house, all the curtains had been closed and every window slammed shut.
It stayed like that for weeks, no one entering. No one leaving. The mystery of the Nenning family eventually left the headlines, and faded from the minds of everyone in the town.
People say that when one is in a coma, they are still conscious. Just momentarily frozen in time until the clock starts again. Some people even believe that someone in a coma can move freely, Louis never thought that she would be that someone.
She had watched her family from the moment she was emitted into the hospital. It had started slow, as expected. Her father holed up in his office, staring at empty empty pages, and her mother planted on the bed in her bedroom. Her brother and sister sat with their quite toys sprawled on the floor.
It had stayed like that for weeks, then months, nothing changing. The house was nothing but a gloomy hole. Always quite. Nobody came to visit her, everyone just worried silently.
But despite all that, Louis couldn’t stop the smile that came to her face when her father first exited his office, coat in hand. She watched as he disappeared into the master bedroom, returning with her mother. Whose face was tear streaked and eyes wide.
With their hands clasped together they both of them rounded up her brother and sister. She let out a quiet laugh as the two young kids bound out of their bedroom towards the front door. Crying out, “Hurry Mama!”, “Hurry Papa!”
Louis jumped from her perch on the stairway railing to the marble floor, where her father, for the first time in 10 years, was wearing a small smile.
I often wonder… what would it take to destroy it?
Maybe everything would be okay.

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