I'm Sorry for Everything I Ever Did

I'm very conscientious and I can't explain the things I've done. But I know that I haven't been much of a houseguest.

She left me in charge of her cat and her flat. The Jews who sang next door were not Hasidic. They were white robes and round fur hats. I wanted to join them. I broke a wine glass. I wrapped it in newspaper, dumped in on the railroad tracks and never said a word. The cat was fine.

I stayed in his Victorian house for the summer. His boyfriend lived in London. They were German and liked motorcycles and chains. There were a lot of decorative plates on the walls and I did not break even one. I had my own room but I slept with my boyfriend in his bed every night. We were in love, two loners gone half mental. I chained the front door closed before bed so we'd have a chance to hide he ever motorcycled home in the middle of the night. I broke his lamp and denied it. But I did not break his cheap lousy chairs.

It was strictly no-fault at the Sklairs. Elegant decrepit mansion. Like an English country house after the war, floors scarred by hospital cots and soldier boots. Judith loved that cat, she just thought it would be funny to dye him blue.

Do not upset the maid, they told me. She is not a family friend. She is not a rageholic. But she can't be upset. Maybe she is the only maid in London. We had a lot of unexpected visitors from out of town in their house, sleeping on couches and in the kids' rooms. Tall naked Scotsman, fled from his cold bath and her cold stare. The maid was upset.

The delicious scent of teenaged girls. I cut up her magazines to make a collage. I slept with my brother, read the headline. I slept in her narrow bed covered with thin white lace. I imagined her innocent world, and a version not so innocent. She stayed late at school, talking to her history teacher, a thin man with a beard. He wore leather pants and told her about his archery set.

I bled on the bed. Who has white sheets anyway? It belonged to his mother who lived in Sweden. He said that Sweden was very beautiful. I preferred the grimy Cambridge bridges, piles of homeless broken glass sleeping under every one. I figured no one would notice the blood all the way in Sweden.

We found the stash of porn in the basement. And the Monty Python.

I threw away the styrofoam containers that choked the fridge. Thundering white leeches. But that was very special chow mein, it turns out, and I wasn't welcome again.

About the author:

Kris Rothstein lives in Vancouver, BC where she is a writer, editor, and the publisher of micro-press Smart Cookie. Her latest book is The Mitford Diaries, about a strange English aristocratic family. She is an excellent house guest.