The Yes/No Door Creak
The Yes/No Door Creak
My recent troubles really started with the day my bedroom door spoke to me.
I was in the hallway that connects my four rooms together like the history of a friendship. I think I was recycling cardboard, removing my address details from the front, folding it up and pushing it into a wooden bin. It lives in there for a while, until I empty the wooden bin into the larger, heavy-duty plastic bin out front that belongs to the city.
It was not a Zen moment, as I was not peacefully absorbed upon the task in hand serenely aware of the cardboard in my hands, free of thought, present in the moment. I am capable of occasional Zen moments, but this was not one of them. I was folding cardboard but thinking of food. My stomach had rumbled earlier on, like a storm in a neighbouring county. I was contemplating the choice of homemade lentil & onion soup versus a green salad with feta cheese and Brazil nuts supported by a jacket potato gliding across the plate like a baked schooner high on its own Sea of Melted Butter. My mind and my stomach were like two children on a see-saw. As I was thinking to myself I fancy the soup tonight that was when I heard a deep, gruff “Yes!” from behind me.
I live alone so there shouldn’t be anyone behind me. If there was and they were shouting “Yes!” that would be a whole different story. I turned around and the door to my bedroom was just in the final throes of movement. Right before my eyes it moved unaided, only slightly, but enough to ease out a resolute “Yes!” once more. I am not alarmed by talking doors, although I admit to being momentarily surprised, but as I had already started to imagine the taste of the soup, it was a comforting turn of events. When I make the soup it is thick and glossy with a tang of fresh lemon juice, a bold hand of black pepper and crisp white onions riddled through the red lentils. Once blended I finely chop a red onion, caramelise it in an old pan and add it to the soup as the last minute.
On a good day I have the soup with home baked bread.
On a bad day I have the soup with a can or two of very strong, cheap lager.
That particular day was a good day and the creaking door encouraged me.
That was over a week ago now and I have asked the door a number of questions since, keeping a record of the answers in pencil:
Should I go to work today?
“Yes!” (A disappointing response and even a ‘best-of-three’, followed by a ‘best-of-seven’ did nothing to change the answer)
Is there something suspicious about the death of Jimi Hendrix we don’t know about yet?
Will there be snow today?
“Yes!” (And there was, not until late, but still the snow came)
Will China ever give Tibet back to the Tibetan people?
“No!” (I was saddened by this response)
Am I considered old at 37?
“No!” (A pleasing response. But then I started to get all hung-up on the idea that the wooden door itself may be very old and this could have affected its judgement)
Will you always be able to answer my questions?
This last answer made me stop and think.
I sat on my settee, which faces a large window to the sky, watching the birds return to their roost early doors. I needed to think about my questions, now that I was facing the reality that the answers were finite. There might be things I need to know in the future. Any question could be the last one to receive an answer.
Even the last question I had asked, could turn out to be the last question answered.
I sat there until the night came down and switched off the trees, pushing them backwards into the blackness. The stars came out and owls could be heard in the woods at the top of the hill. A little while after a sudden strong wind brought a light rain against my window pane. Outside I could hear bins overturning and the desperate clatter of an old tin can wending its way home.
That was the kind of night it was, as I sat in the dark with my hands filled with answers and my heart heavy with questions.