The Claustrophobia of Death

I am terribly afraid of two things in life: commitment and confined spaces. Both of these fears probably stem from my childhood; you know the author of all those mystery romance books they turned into blockbuster movies, by T.S. Truelove? She’s had like, ten books on the NY Times Bestseller list, for like ten years straight? Well, she’s also my mother, and no matter what her agent said, she wasn’t just closely guarding her privacy. Despite her successes and wealth, she had become increasingly agoraphobic through the years. By the time I made it to high school, she had quit leaving the house. Period. Drama was a huge part of my life, and I was good. I was the star in so many of the plays, but the last play my senior year was more than that, more than just me as the lead, because I also wrote the thing. It was also the last play my mother had the chance to attend, which would have been her first, and instead she locked herself in her bedroom in the stupid mansion like some reclusive star protecting her privacy. She never saw me perform, not once. Not live. Maybe I’m just blaming my mom and my weird, lonely childhood for my current phobias and lack of social life. I will say I haven’t been back to the house in years. And as I open the door, it’s like some sci-fi relic, the decaying remnants of money and fame decimated by the mental illness that stole my mother and never gave her back. Stepping inside, it’s like the walls are closing in, the large space compressing, and it’s difficult to breathe.

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