When I was a kid I tried to move objects with my mind. I’d hole up in my bedroom, cross-legged and perfectly still on my neon polyester quilt. Focusing on the quiet, I’d fixate on something across the room. Something smallish and feasible, like a Rubik’s cube or one of my many stuffed animals, a comforting menagerie. I wasn’t presumptuous enough to tackle my lava lamp, or the electric typewriter that was my best friend.
                I’d lock eyes with a teddy and then lower my lids to half-mast. I’d summon the energy, the pull, the force and will it until my temples throbbed and I was aglow with a light sweat. A scruffy bear levitating toward me and landing in my cupped hands would have confirmed my spiritual meanderings and helped make sense of my world. The bear didn’t budge. I couldn’t let my mind play tricks on me and pretend it had shifted. I wasn’t that kind of a cheat.
                Undeterred, I’d revisit the exercise daily. The Rubik’s cube didn’t move either. I came to know every square inch of my bedroom, and everything in it. My mom had long before abandoned her fruitless nagging to clean up my room, so it was my pigsty, and if something wasn’t going to levitate it likely wasn’t going anywhere.
                After some time I graduated to attempting astral projection. I’d devoured a stack of library books and was sure it was possible. Convinced I was a misunderstood old soul, astral projection seemed the ultimate justification for my existence. I may have felt trapped there, alone in my bedroom, but my energy could be anyplace. I’d lie in the dark, slow my breathing, close my eyes and feel a lightness leave my limbs. My body would stay, still and heavy on the bed, but my spirit would lift, suffering no boundaries as it floated out of my room and house, through the sky to…well I never made it that far.
                When I outgrew my stuffed animals I converted them into a complicated banking system. Every dollar I received for a chore or babysitting job, I’d tuck away in a koala’s pouch. Or between two hugging monkeys. Or in the stitching of my tattered, unbuoyant teddy.
                One year my mom’s boyfriend hooked us up with built-ins for our closets. I dragged out my old dresser and his knees cracked as he squatted on the floor, sweating, and installed crisp white drawers in its place. It was very exciting to have clear plexi boxes to put my shoes in, and two rows of hanging. If only I had more clothes. Feeling very grown up, I gathered my teddies to donate along with the dresser, and a twenty fell from the pile. I tore those stuffed animals to bits and found almost two hundred dollars. The first thing I bought was a wallet.
                We had a loyal Lhasa Apso, a gray and white fluff ball, who actually was my best friend, so really the Smith Corona came in second. I’d sit for hours typing out my deepest thoughts, secrets I couldn’t share with anyone. Then I’d fold the paper into a tight square and stash it in a puzzle box, which I casually left out in plain view. We were sort of agnostic, didn’t practice religion, but I called it my God Box. Every so often I’d have to toss some pages out to make room for more. I had a lot to say.
                One summer we went away and my mom rented out our house. When we returned, the tenants had cleaned us out. Absolutely everything had been loaded into a moving truck and driven off, and all that remained were imprints in the shag carpeting. We’d been warned of the theft, a neighbor had called with the shocking news, but still…walking into that empty house was about as close to astral projection as I ever got. My body was there, but my spirit couldn’t be.
                I’d brought a present back for my cousin, one of those joke snifters that look full of brown liquor. I hand carried it the whole way and cradled it in my lap on the airplane because it was so fragile. Once home, I set it on the dusty kitchen counter and went to check out my shell of a bedroom. There was nothing to see. When I got back to the kitchen my mom’s face was ashen, something else had happened. Turns out she’d dropped the glass, and it shattered on the floor. My last worldly belonging – which was not even for me – a pile of shards glistening in a spill that resembled old urine.
                The next year my cousin had to stay with us while her mom tried to figure out their housing. We were in the bath together, horsing around, and my cousin stood on the ceramic soap dish that was part of the tub. Naturally it snapped off, the pink bathtub now had an exposed jagged white edge where the soap should sit. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my mom so mad.
                Later, when I was in high school, I’d stand in that tub and exhale bong hits out the screened window, watching the family next door play board games. Around that time I had a best friend who’d sleep over a lot because my mom left us alone. One morning we woke up and decided we wanted a cigarette right that minute. We each lit up our own Marlboro Light, and twenty seconds later my mom burst in, nose first, sniffing the air. My friend quickly hid her cig under the paisley comforter, while I dropped mine in a glass of water. My mom stood there lecturing me about health and growth and lungs, and all I could do was cringe as my friend twitched and jumped, singeing herself under the covers. It seemed an eternity, and when my mom finally stormed out, my friend had burned a pretty big hole through the sheet. My mom refused to buy me a new one, and for the rest of my time in that house I slept on that burn, it’s edges crispy and sealed.
                Also around that time I became friends with a boy who wanted more than friendship. He eventually lost his patience with me and came by late one night to vandalize our house. In the morning we found eggs splattered on a high window above some large bushes, but we didn’t have a ladder. We decided the egg would wash away with rain and time, but turns out that shit bakes on in the hot Florida sun and that was that.
                When I was in college my mom sold the house and moved around the corner. I’d drive by it sometimes when visiting. It became a rental, the shrubs grew wild, and I imagine it was never a real home again. Recently there was a For Rent sign in the yard and I could see through the windows it was vacant, a stack of boxes in the front room. I went around the back and was surprised to find an unlocked sliding glass door. My kids and husband were with me, and we split up to explore. Everything was exactly the same, just dilapidated. The same Formica kitchen cabinets, now chipped and missing hardware. My tired closet built-ins, warped and sagging. My busted tub. My empty room, just like when we’d been robbed.
                The house had frozen in time, and gotten beat up by a bunch of passers through. It didn’t feel like it had any ghosts, it was just a box. As we drove away, I glanced back at the front window, and sure enough, that egg was still there.

Donna Moss has been writing short stories and creative non-fiction for over a decade. She has a novel-in-progress and is published in a variety of journals, including RE:AL, Talking River, Compass Rose, Amazing Graces, Gargoyle, Bethesda Magazine, and most recently The Showbear Family Circus. She lives in Bethesda, MD with her three sons, family dog, five chickens and a hedgehog.