In New Voices today, we are proud to present “Lost in Transformation” by Nicole Burdge. Burdge holds no punches in her first published work, and the first line prepares the reader for the story they’re about to consume: “The house is drowning.” “Lost in Transformation” captures attention through its transforming, kaleidoscopic language. Read on.
Hello. My name is_________and I am an addict. I once traded my mother’s coveted onyx and white gold necklace for one weekend’s supply.
The house is drowning. Your bedroom with your bright patterned curtains. The floral wallpaper in the corner by the closet. It splinters and peels and dances among the bubbles. Weightless. Your clothes are wet and heavy. Drag you down like bottles tied to your wrists. Far below the surface where you won’t breathe or see or hear. The words drown before they reach you. Swallowed in carbonated waves. You drown and I drown and she drowns. We reach for each other but the current draws us away. Our fingers splayed and stretched. Pulled taut like rope. The dog is drowning. The oak table and its high-backed chairs. My glasses and your lipstick. Bubbles rise from the bottom and swim past your floating limbs. Feel like ants in your skin. The lava lamp and the movies we watched. Memorized. Recited. Rehearsed. Consumed in gulps before our eyes. Bent into impossible shapes. Pulled and twisted and knotted as they glide. The claw-footed bathtub and eyelash curler. Needle and thread pool behind the couch where we used to hide. Windows bow and threaten to break. She pours and we sink beneath the surface. She pours as we drown. And she drowns. Her bleary eyes open and her lips curved into a shapeless smile.