"One mans ceiling is another mans floor."

- Paul Simon

---

It all started with the man on the ceiling, he never told me exactly how he got up there, but that's where it started.

My mother told me never to talk to strange men, but when I came home from grocery shopping to find a red haired man asleep stretched across my ceiling there wasn't much else I could do.

I set my groceries on the counter and stared at him for a minute and my mind stuck oddly on the funny shaped idea that he didn't match the paint at all. There were playing cards at his side and a book across his stomach, I couldn't read the spine.

"Hello," I said, a little louder that usual and his eyes popped open like they were on springs. His eyes were purple and his smile was wide. He sat up and craned his neck to see me; I waved uncertainly, should I just tell him to leave?

"Um, who are you?" I asked and oddly enough my words were orange and my question quivered in the air, skittish as I was when I was young.

"I'm Thomas," he said and the name danced all around his body, "would you like to join me?" his smile widened and he waved me up.

"No, thanks," I said, "I have no idea how to get up there and even if I did I am a loyal subject of gravity and would most certainly fall back down again." I gave him a closed lipped smile and turned to start putting groceries away. I had to pray that if I ignored him he would go away or turn out to be a bad dream, a delusion. There's something I find very hard to handle about having strange people on my ceiling, and where there is one there will be more.

So I figured if I didn't acknowledge him then he would leave and no more would come. This had me wondering why I'd talked to him at all. Really, I knew better.

When I was young we had a whole group of them living on our living room ceiling. They would never have stayed as long as they did if my brother hadn't loved them. Admittedly, they're not known to be dangerous, but they're like rats and according to the treaty of 1791 if they're in your home you have to feed them.

It's not that they can't feed themselves; it's just that they won't do so if they have food handed to them. I don't actually know what they are, I never studied them. I know, though that they bend the laws of reality around them. By the time they left our house we couldn't stay in it anymore, not when reality bent at our very thoughts. Every time one of us had a nightmare, monsters would roam the house.

"I insist that you join me," and suddenly I was on the ceiling with Thomas. What started then I'm not really sure, but somehow I got pulled into Thomas' adventures, I've survived other people's nightmares now and lived their wildest dreams. I think maybe I'm becoming like Thomas, whatever he is, and I'm not sure I'm okay with that, the problem though, is that I've never been very good at endings.

How do you end something that is endless? Endless opportunities and ideas, that's Thomas.

When we first met, after he called me up the ceiling he just talked for a while, told me stories, about all the families he'd met and stayed with. We'd met before, apparently, he had been one of the group that had lived on my ceiling, and again when he started an infestation in my best friends' house and I had to help her move out.

My brother told him a lot about me, most of it had changed since the time he had lived on the ceiling of my childhood home, but a lot of it held true. He'd found me again on a whim, he told me that what my younger brother told him things he liked, how stubborn I was and, in Thomas' words, how fierce I was, how protective I was of him.

I agreed that I was stubborn, when I want to be, but I've always been more nervous than fierce.

Thomas just smirked at me when I said that and pulled out his cards, "We're going to play poker."

"What for?" He raised an eyebrow, "What are we betting?"

"I thought that was obvious," he said. I dropped my chin to my chest, took a deep breath, and looked at him through my eyebrows, "No?" I shook my head, "Well you," I blinked, "the chance to get to know you properly and to do that you'd need to stay up here on the ceilings with me."

Ceilings I noted, more than one. How long would I have to stay up here with him?

"And if I refuse to play?"

"Then you forfeit and have to stay on the ceiling with me."

Either way I lost, I didn't even know how to play poker and I most certainly wasn't going to ask Thomas to teach me, I was under the impression that he wouldn't do it properly. So, when Thomas dealt, I took up the cards, I could figure it out, then he gave me chips and I was lost.

Obviously I lost, but I learned. I said before that Thomas was endless, it's true, the more time I spend with him, the more he reminds me of life. Neither are certain, or fixed; made of possibility. Thomas is life and he always will be, he was the same age when I was a little girl as he his now, Thomas is always; same as life.

I'm becoming like Thomas, similar, but I'll never be what he is. Thomas is too tied to whimsy for me to honestly be like him and I'm too tired. Life is draining and I won't survive being so active in it, to it, against it for very much longer.

I can't say knowing I'm going to die doesn't scare me, after all, I'm bad at endings, but at least I'll die knowing that I knew life, even if he was what killed me.

My death started the day my life did.