a stack of boxes

“Hoarding?” He sounds confused, a little frightened by what’s on the screen right now and I don’t blame him. I’ve lived with a hoarder for about five years, it was terrible, I was nearly maimed twice and I constantly felt as if I was suffocating. Still, I needed the place to live, I was still inexperienced when it came to being a real part of the world and I couldn’t afford to live anywhere else. It was before I ever made it into my first real and proper job.

I shake my head, smiling at him just slightly. The show on the television is about this one woman who’s just hoarding nothing and everything. There are boxes stacked everywhere and I’m surprised there hasn’t been any accidents yet. Though there might have, they just won’t tell us, the viewer, about it.

“Some people feel the need to just never throw anything away. Some will just buy and buy and keep on buying. There are a lot of different reasons for it though, for some it’s because something terrible happened to them when they were younger, for others it’s a way to deal with life. In some cases, they grew up in that kind of environment and they have a hard time not doing exactly the same thing themselves.” I explain things to him in the simplest of ways I can manage, really.

“But that’s just-, there’s nearly no way to get around her house, the whole place is packed nearly to the ceiling. Things could topple at any instant!” It’s good to know that he seems to be aware of the danger of the whole situation, at least. It’s comforting in a way.

I shake my head with a sigh, looking at the screen a moment later before I have to look away. This show is about helping folks with these issues, helping them clean up and try to stay cleaned up. It only reminds me of the life I had when I was still too young. I was living with another demon at that point and this issue is something I wish I never had to handle, it was terrible.

I couldn’t even keep my room clear of all his stuff he was constantly dropping stuff in there, saying that it was his home and he could do whatever he wanted, that if I didn’t like it, I could just get out and find elsewhere. It took me five years to find ‘elsewhere’ and by then I didn’t even have a room anymore. I didn’t have access to my bed so I just slept near the window where I was mostly able to keep a clear sort of spot. It was unhealthy.

“There are dead things in there!” Startled, I look to him then back up to the screen and I can’t help the faint laugh. That’s not new either. I reach for the remote and I change the channel to one of the earth documentaries. This is easier on the stomach, at least for me. He gives me a slightly confused look and I can only manage to pull my lips into the ghost of a smile.

“I lived like that for a while. Not me, mind you, the guy I was having to live with, it was terrible. I don’t know if I can ever stomach the idea of being near or around a hoarder ever again in my life. I like to keep things like everyone else but not to the point of burying myself under it all.”

He nods, seeming to mostly understand what I’m talking about and we just try to forget about the hoarder, focus on the television and its rainforest documentary.

“You haven’t touched any of your food, Eoghan.” Lex’s voice pulls me out of my thoughts, I look up to him, startled. I know where my mind had taken me and it makes me cringe somewhat. I had completely forgotten where I was and who I was with. At times I think I’m as sensitive as Yael on some subjects, it makes no sense. I’ve had centuries to get used to this life. I guess some things just stay stronger than others.

“I’m sorry, Lex. When I was spending time with Yael earlier we ended up partly watching a show on hoarders and it just stuck with me, I wish it hadn’t.” He cants his head, a thoughtful sort of motion before he sighs and pushes my plate a little closer to me. I know I need to eat. “Living with Olric was really hard, I ended up buried under his piles of shit a few times and I’m just glad I heal the way I do because I don’t think I’d be around at this point if that wasn’t the case.”

The sad truth about this is that I think I heard that he did get buried under his shit not that long after I left to live elsewhere and he never made it out of there. Even us stronger-bodied demons are not immortal if you’re not careful about the kind of life you life.

“Eat, you can come and settle into the bedroom for a bit of a rest after. You need to eat first because I’m not helping to wear you out if you don’t have some energy to spare.” I blush lightly and I shake my head. His methods are usually the best methods there are and I can never say no. I look down to the plate in front of me and I look around for my fork before I realize I’ve been holding it all along.

Rolling my eyes at my own inability to stay glued to the present, I eat. I take it mostly slow since I’m still not really feeling the desire to eat at all but I know I need the food in me. Lex has good means of wearing me out until I can’t even think about anything at all and if I want to appreciate any of it, I need food.

“At least if his things had been boxed the way this woman’s stuff was, it might not have been as dangerous.” I know my mind will still stick to that subject for a little bit longer, I can’t help it. Lex never has seen the inside of Olric’s home and that’s for the better. I don’t even know if it’s still standing. I don’t care. “He’d just get all this shit and pile it up, throw it some place and he’d never even use any of it.”

Olric’s need to hoard had merely been born on a need to have everything he could get his hands on. That’s what I understood of him after living with him for five years. If he had this one thing, no one else could have it or use it. I used to think of him as a bully, taking everything away from everyone else but I know it was all in his head, it wasn’t actually right in there and he couldn’t really be helped.

I’m just glad it’s not a ‘disease’ that can be caught. I don’t know if I could ever have lived with myself if I’d started hoarding stuff after I left his house to have my own small place.

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