thank you for not looking

by uzwi

You suspect the whole cheap farrago of this grand house being bought “for the public” by some industrialist in the early 1900s. Even then it was a white elephant no one really wanted, except to turn a profit from. There’s a smell of furniture polish & old food. The floorboards are nice; also the way the light falls in: but every object here thanks you for not interacting with it. THANK YOU FOR NOT SITTING, labels on the chairs announce, & the tables & display cases thank you for not touching. If they could, the paintings, china & very short beds would say, THANK YOU FOR NOT LOOKING; & the guards with their hand-held radios would thank you for not coming. “I’ve got people on this floor,” one of the radios says. You know instantly what that means. “Can you hear me, over ?” It is 2012 & they are actually saying “over”. Outside a hot breeze moves the baskets of trailing flowers on the lamp posts in front of Fail Solicitors. It’s one of those mornings when the overcast distributes the light across the sky. The sun will never break through but you’ll feel it there all day, wrapped around you, until your eyes tire. A faded looking man in a red T shirt crosses the road near the bowel cancer charity. His smile is sarcastic & apologetic at the same time. “We both know what’s happened to me,” it says. “It’s happening to you, too. Over.”