He came of age in a place of his own. Perhaps never secret, never entirely private. He had his own intimacy, a world of his own, inside his own mind.

It was closed. Always had been. Light from the outside shone too bright from the window. Shadows crept from underneath the door. It remained shut for so long, smelled of varnish and dust. Mold invaded. The wooden floor rotted. Insects festering. Rotten flesh. He remained.

Father takes pride in making us look acceptable. He finds peace in the absence of judgemental eyes. The gaze of strangers is unnerving. You caused this. I think. He is just too different. They were not ready. Someone has to do something about the rot in his mind. It created me.

I came to be in a childhood room, not mine, but his, with intact wallpaper and lino floor. I came out of the rot in his mind, the maggots crawling behind the walls where things we do not want to talk about are crammed into a disgusting papier mâché. I came out to the world inside my childhood bedroom, through the window, into the wild and unknown. Our parents were none the wiser.

Then my lies grew the size of an entire city. An entire world. His corpse had been left to rot underneath the bed in my childhood bedroom. They would have to find out one way or another.

Mother scoffs at the idea that she has no son. Ridiculous. She does not talk about it. Father knows he cannot change her mind, cannot find any better. He is running out of time, and contends with what he has. They do not talk about it.

They do not talk about me. I do not exist. They keep to themselves, in their house of silence, lies, sorrow, grief. They pretend things are as they always were.

They never talk about their son. Or, rather, they always do. As if he still lived. As if he still breathed. As if I had not crawled out of his open skull.

Yet, the door to my childhood bedroom stays closed.