some days, he invites me into the home it has taken him years to build, and others he slams the wooden door so that it splinters into my heavy eyes. on the good days, he lets me listen to his heartbeat, the one that reminds me how many times the support beams shook and snapped in half until the entire house collapsed in on itself. possibly, it had occurred to me that he was forced to rebuild the four walls with a hammer and nails that he found in the dusty tool box his father had left him. he whispers sawdust into my ear, telling me how much of himself he had put into building himself this home, and how selective he is with who he allows into it. on the bad days, though, i know that it is the ghost of his father that beats incessantly against the glass windows, threatening to shatter each one. it was his father’s phantom that roamed the empty halls, screaming of how wrong it is to allow someone into his home, screaming at him. on those days, he can’t find the courage to lift the sheets off of all of the furniture he hand crafted. on those days, he can’t bring himself to stop the house from burning or wasting away to nothing. those are the days his land line cuts out after one ring, the days that the doorbell makes no noise, and the days that the only thing anyone can hear coming from those four walls are his screams. the screams of his heartbeat, threatening to shatter into his bloodstream and make his veins ache again. those are the days that i knock on the door again and again, always expecting an answer, but knowing that he just cannot bring himself to take the nails out of the doorframe like he had the day before, so i sit on the doorstep waiting. waiting for the house to open up, and ask me to stay.