"The Accommodations of Despair"

Jade Wallace

Jade Wallace, a writer from the Niagara Fruit Belt, is currently at work on their MA in Creative Writing at the University of Windsor. Their work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Studies in Social Justice, The Stockholm Review, Room Magazine, and elsewhere. Their most recent solo chapbook is Rituals of Parsing (Anstruther Press, 2018). They are part of the writing collaborative MA|DE, whose first chapbook was Test Centre (ZED Press, 2019). They are also an organizing member of Draft Reading Series and one half of The Leafy Greens, a band whose music has been incorrectly described as “psychedelic stoner metal.”

“‘The Accommodations of Despair’ very liberally paraphrases an anonymous tenant’s disorientingly odd application to the Landlord and Tenant Board and incorporates allusions to Surrealist art, including Dali’s painting The Accommodations of Desire.”

     The Tenant rented a subterranean refrigerator,
     which she had never enjoyed with any humanity.
     The refrigerator growled and had poor air circulation
     and was covered in nauseating spots. Her cold teeth
     chattered all night. Worst of the lot was the
     meat drawer where she slept. It seemed to
     live in her more than she lived in it. She asked
     the Landlord to domesticate the spotted feral cat.

     One morning at four, the Landlord entered the
     refrigerator but all she found there, apart from the
     surprised Tenant, were broken bowls, a few ants,
     and a displaced crisper drawer. “Those were
     there when I moved in,” the Tenant said.
     The temperature of the refrigerator was tested and
     locked. The Landlord turned to the Tenant.
     The Tenant asked the Landlord not to get close
     to her, but it was no use. The Tenant held up her
     palms to protect her face from the Landlord’s
     proximity. Nevertheless, the Tenant’s left
     hand was injured and extravasated blood.
     Her twists were hurt and turned to blue.

     The Landlord went out of the apartment,
     returning a few minutes later with an
     agreement to terminate the tenancy. It said:
     “The damages, I agreed to all of them.”
     There was a line below for the Tenant’s
     signature. They did not discuss interpretation.
     The Tenant signed. The Landlord signed.
     The paper made such a maudlin show of ripping
     itself apart that it turned to a crush of ice chips.