manila envelope

Close up shot on a full, fat manila envelope. Full of papers. A legal document. And a stray french fry from a fast food lunch that accidentally slipped in there, and is the reason for the grease stain showing on its underbelly. Directly above the frame is a kitchen. It is morning and unusually quiet for the hour. The sun reflects off white-tiled countertops, the clean, glossy-finish fresh and new. The smell of Dawn. The dishes stay still on the drainboard, dry. Birds chirp through muted suburban tones. The windows still shut, denying the day, denying the hour. Panning to the floor we notice a scuff mark. Mary Jane shoes that dragged on the floor and made a quick, high-pitched sound that set everyone on edge. The seven-year-old apologizes meekly as the household unclenches their teeth. Past scenes play out like ghosts in this atypical haunted house. The floorboards creak with the rising temperature. The front door opens. Camera stays below the waist as keys are dropped into a nearby bowl. The breath is male, deep, ragged, rushed. There is an interruption of Zen in this quiet space. The pictures on the wall silently object to his presence. Upstairs there is a made bed with a floral comforter of pinks, purples, and violets. The room smells like lilacs. Perfumy, overpowering. Even outside a closed door, you can detect its presence. As this household occupant goes through the room stomping about, somewhere the old white paint on top of the door frame flakes, peels, and falls off. We’re never cognizant of the passing of time when life is happening. As he runs up the stairs he can feel his pulse in his hand as he grips the banister. There is something wrong here, something amiss. If he would only open the envelope and sign the papers, she told him, it would make everything much easier. He could keep the house, she’d get the kids, as long as she’d leave them alone forever.