Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Door Between You and Me

I wait. I pace the hall, up and down, outside the door. The door is steel, very wide, grey, a cool grey, closer the color of blue than tan. I sit down against the wall, beside the door, slumping my bag next to me. I wait. The wall has a slight texture if I push my back against it, rounded bumps, not rough, but with a smooth surface that slides against my jacket. The baseboard is thin against the wall, rubber. Where it meets the deeper metal door frame, a curved triangle of grunge remains, where careless mops never quite reach. I close my eyes to shut out that sight and press my head against the wall. I listen for some sign from behind the door. Nothing. The door is thick, heavy, soundproof. Is it one of those fireproof doors? I wait. I wake with a start: I must have drifted off. For how long? Nothing is changed. There is still no sound, no one here, no change in the light. I get up, pushing off the wall. I go to the end of the hallway. There is a window, a drive below, curbed on either side between sidewalk and grass. There is a bench of metal slats, a trashcan. A few scattered trees with a few scattered leaves remaining. I can see the parking lot and my car. I look back to the door. Are you still there? You did not speak to me or even meet my eyes, but I am sure you know I am out here. I am sure I saw you go in. I saw you pull the door tight shut and I heard you click the latch tight closed. What is happening? How long will it be? I go back and sit again, with my back against the door this time. It seems colder than the plaster wall. Smoother, but there are chips in the grey paint of the frame and the door. The linoleum tiled floor changes to a darker color at the doorframe. I take the book from my bag and try to read. I can understand the words but they do not hold meaning to me beyond the moment I read them. I put the book back in the bag. I wait. How much longer? There! I hear a clicking at the knob, as though a hand turns it from within, from the other side. I lean forward, waiting for the door to open. But no more sounds follow. Did I shift my weight against the door, thus causing the mechanism in the latch to shift? Or was there a hand there, on the other side? I get up and pace some more. I stand leaning against the wall opposite the door. There is a window high on the door. I go closer, up on my toes. But it is reinforced with wire mesh, translucent. I can see nothing through it except a uniform glow of the diffused light beyond. Or is it merely reflected light from the hallway. I lean back against the opposite wall, slide down to sit there again. Are you still in there? What am I waiting for? How long have I been waiting? How long should I wait? Am I waiting for you to come out? Or for you to let me in? Should I pound on the door, jiggle the handle, yell, demand your attention? Would you even hear? Should I wait longer? Or should I just stand up and walk away.


Chuckles said...

Okay. To paraphrase Paul Harvey, "What is the REST of the story?".

goprairie said...

F-I-C-T-I-O-N. Made up. If it is about anything, it might be about waiting for people. Or waiting for spring? Or stopping your life to wait vs. going on with your life while you wait?