I had a housemate, one whom I always saw as less than I – he was one of those people who always seemed to need help, you see. I‘d known him for as long as I could remember, and so when he said he needed a place to stay I decided to take him in. I had lots of room in the house anyway, and he’d always seemed pretty mild-mannered.
I fed him and even clothed him on occasion, after all, I was called to kindness. I let him have his way many times, even to my own detriment. However, I rebuked him when I felt he was going too far, and he’d retreat for a season at a time. All in all, it was a relatively OK existence.
I noticed that the more I took care of him and catered for his needs, the more weight he put on and the more room he took up. One day, I noticed that he seemed to have more clothes than me, and was crowding out our shared wardrobe area. I ignored it; ‘life does not depend on the number of clothes one has,’ I thought dismissively.
Another day, I saw that he’d taken over the fridge and freezer literally! ‘He eats far too much’ I thought. I must take it up with him. However, one thing overtook the other, and I didn’t get round to having a chat with him.
There was this one time when I felt like he’d gone too far with his attitude, and I was so angry that I reached out to slap him, as I’d done at least once in the past. He suddenly grabbed my hand and brought it forcefully to my side. All the while looking me in the eyes boldly. ‘What cheek!’ I thought, ‘How dare he?!’ However, a short while later I apologised; I didn’t really have the right to smack him like a child; young or not, he had his rights.
However, he became increasingly rude, and very quickly seemed to be taking over the house – his belongings and indeed his very body mass! The whole thing left me wondering, ‘whose house is this anyway?! Yours or mine??’ I said as much to him, to which he replied, ‘It’s ours, no?’.
‘It bloody well isn’t yours mister!’ I thought, but not wanting to appear authoritarian, I bit my tongue. I determined to act out my thoughts until they might as well have been said! I became cold and distant, and at every turn emphasised that it was my place and not his.
However, it seemed I had fed him fat, and allowed him so much licence, that now my message wasn’t getting across. One morning we had a particularly bad row, and I rushed out for an appointment, determined that on my return, I’d fling his many belongings out and end this living arrangement once and for all.
I had a bad day, not enhanced by its beginning, and I wanted the day to end with me being rid of my housemate-turned-landlord (!). I walked up to my house, and what do I see? My suitcases neatly piled in one corner of the driveway! ‘What on earth is happening here?’ I thought. I slipped my key into the lock, hardly turning it before I pulled on the door handle, I couldn’t get in quickly enough. But for some reason I couldn’t turn the key…hmm that’s strange, it had always opened quite easily. It took a couple more tries for it to get into my head – my housemate had changed the lock!
Indignation and fury rising in me, I banged on the door with all my might, drawing attention from passers-by, but I was past caring. My housemate came to the door, and with an evil grin on his face declared ‘I’ve taken over. If you must come back in here, then it will be on my terms, not yours!’ I couldn’t believe what I was hearing…was he mad? Who takes over another person’s house?!
‘Him to whom you give the rights‘, I heard a third voice whisper. I looked around expecting to find that I had company, but there was no one. I turned to look back at the subject of my wrath, and my brass door-knocker stared back at me. He’d shut my door in my face!
House: Your soul
Housemate: Sinfulness/the carnal nature