Oiling Hinges

I think about doors a lot.  Not necessarily literal doors.  Not the all important opening and closing.

But the idea of passing.  Passing through.  Passing beyond.

I think about that a lot.

I’m not writing metaphorically about death.  I’m not that miserable of an English teacher. I mean, yeah, I read a lot of tragic books.  I’m helping direct a play that is centered on the main characters’ deaths.

But I’m actually not depressed.

Yeah, it’s February and this is an exhausting month for me.  Regardless, in the end, I’m rather happy.   Even though my dishwasher is sending me the “I-have-a-leak-code,” fortunately, I also bought the extended five-year warranty at Lower and I might not have to pay anything to have the dishwasher repaired.

Oh, and my dryer’s guts are spread out through the kitchen like some sad, rejected road kill.

Fritzing appliances does not make for a clean home.

Regardless, I’m not worried about a clean home right now.  I’m thinking about doors.

Today, I was interviewed for a student documentary about 9/11.  I talked about Stanley Praimnath and Brian Clark, how Clark braved his way past burning doors to pull Praimnath out of the wreckage of his office.

I talked about people who chose to go back inside the building even though people, debris, fire, molten aluminum were erupting from the upper floors.  They chose to open the doors and pass within to help with the evacuation.

Right now, my Beloved and the Girl (aka the Hammer) just opened the front door which squealed in protest.  Cold air rushed in with Leia, the new dog, and I curled away from the onslaught of frigid air that holds no hope of spring but, deep within the atomic structure, lies spring.

Rehearsal ended today with the people of the annex learning once more about Carl from Utrecht staring at the bookcase which conceals the door.  He is not the person who betrayed the people hiding in the annex.  He is merely an amalgam for someone who has passed quietly through history’s doors and lives in hated obscurity.

I keep on thinking about doors.

About a decade ago, a student painted a door black.  Then, coming through the darkness was a person.  I was haunted by that door.  I can still see the prints of the hands, the long limbs sealed into the panels.  I wanted to reach through the wood and pull the person through, past the paint, past the blackness that concealed the person’s face, obscured the eyes.

I keep on thinking about doors.

Summer is a promise of open doors while I chase the sun across the horizon.  Summer is a promise of open books and long pen strokes and dreams coalescing under the tips of my fingernails.

I keep on thinking about doors.

My running is a sporadic commitment of me trying to lose weight, trying to stay in shape, trying to train for the Appalachian Trail, for a half-marathon, for the possibility of chasing my shadow through England or Scotland.  But tossing myself through the door and down the stairs, I run into a zen-ish momentum of silence, peace, a mental stability.  Each footfall represents another meditative moment when I am nothing more than oxygen flooding my body while my feet hit the gravel or the pavement in perfect rhythm.  I still worry about falling, but even those worries have dissipated.

Last night, the Girl and I wandered through Wal Mart, alternately oohing and giggling over the clothing.  As we strolled around the store, my daughter leaned into me and said something casual, something that grabbed my attention and halted me.

She moved on to another rack of clothing, fell in love with a Star Wars shirt.  The moment had passed but I felt like I had stepped through a gaping maw of a door.  Waiting for me was my daughter, innocently ignorant to what she had mentioned.

In so many respects, what she said is nothing.  What she said is huge.  What she said is between her and me.  But the door on her childhood fell shut a little more tightly.  Or it might still be as wide open as it was before.

Now, beloved readers, do not worry about my daughter.  She said nothing that caused me distress, fear, anxiety, or any negative emotion.  Instead, I flushed with pride, wrapped my arms around her shoulders, and hugged her close.


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