The Bedroom Door
Illustrated by CARLING CHENG
Sunlight burst through the open window, but the lamp was on anyway. The light danced on and off all the furniture as the clouds moved outside. The walls stood heavy, enclosing everything inside. All of the bigger pieces, the brown computer desk, the unmade bed, the drawers, were up against the walls as if to hold them back. Every piece of furniture was covered with something else. Black plastic beads hung off one of the bedposts; a cheap blue scarf was tied around another. The desk had dresses thrown carelessly atop it. Three lied beside each other with their skirts folding. Another had fallen to the floor, wrapping itself around the leg of the desk. All six of the drawers were open. Wrinkled blouses, pants, and skirts dangled off the edges, jewelry hung off handles, and mixed shoes sat at the bottom. All of this doubled through the large mirror that hung off the top of the old white door, making the mess go on further. Everything had its place, its position, in this complete and utter nowhere. Yet not one bead, not one piece of fabric, not even a shoelace had made its way to the middle. Not even a carpet covered the scarred wooden floors. This was the only place of peace within the madness of the rest of it. That was her spot.
She sat there. Her legs crossed. Her back dropped forward, her hair falling, covering the sides of her face. Her bangs were the only part that didn’t obstruct her view since they lingered right above her eyebrows. Her arms fell forward, copying her spine. Her palms faced the ceiling as her fingers lay motionless. She just sat there. The only clothing that covered her body was her bra and her underwear. The rest of her skin shivered, covered in goose bumps as the air from the opened window blew past her. “I hate this,” she said aloud. No one could hear her, no one was home.
She turned her head slowly, observing the mess around her. Then she looked back to the floor. Going out meant getting dressed, getting dressed meant getting up.
“Maybe I just won’t go,” she said.
A vibration came from the far left side of the room. She didn’t need to get up to know what it meant. They would be picking her up, and soon. She told them she would go. They had planned it months ago. It would be the party of a lifetime. People like that don’t they? Parties? That’s what people do.
Her arms moved slightly as she pushed herself off the ground. Her feet brought her to her desk. She looked down at the dresses. She picked up the one that had fallen on the ground. As she lifted it to her body a chunk of dust fell off the skirt and back onto the floor. “I should clean up,” she said. Then she slipped herself into the dress and let it fall over her body. It was pink with polka dots and a bright sash at the waist. The color brought out a flush in her cheeks and the shape gave her a tiny waist. But she didn’t see it. She saw a bulge where her stomach was and groaned. The dress was back on the floor in seconds.
She sighed and picked up another one. Over and over again the clothing covered her body and made her see something that she did not like. So over and over again the clothing fell onto a heap on the floor. She found herself back in the middle of the room sitting in her underwear. She sighed as she looked into the mirror. Blue crescents underlined her eyes. Soft freckles dances along her arms and legs. Blood red hair gently hit her shoulders. It used to be blonde. “Dye it red,” they said. “It’ll be fun,” they said. “Looking prettier will make you happier,” they said.
“You lied,” she told the mirror.
She tried to look back at the floor but her eyes were pulled back to her reflection. Now she saw her neck and her shoulders, and the thin scar that ran from her stomach to her hip from a childhood accident. Her fingers traced the line on her body. Then her hand dashed out and groped the fat that rested on her stomach. She grabbed it until it hurt. She sighed. She pushed herself up off the ground and tried again. This time her legs found a pair of pants. The waist was a little too tight so the stomach she had seemed to cascade over the top. She sighed. She would’ve have taken them off again but her phone vibrated. They would be leaving to come get her now. Her arms found a top that flowed out from the waist down. She let it fall over her body. She sighed. “Can barely see my muffin top,” she said. She almost laughed.
Back to her desk, rifling through the drawers until she found the black bag. She opened it slowly and pulled out a black crayon. It still had the plastic around the top. How many months ago had she gotten it? Three? Four? It didn’t matter she was using it now. The liner traced her eyes until she was satisfied. The mascara was used in the same fashion. The plastic wrappings fell to the floor and she shrugged. “Who would notice?” she asked no one is particular, further proving her point. Her arms fell to her side. Going out meant leaving this room. “I hate this room,” she said. But going out meant leaving it.
“Maybe I just won’t go”.
She looked up and saw it. Oh the door. There it was in all its glory. Press wood held up by old rusted hinges. White paint chipping away at the edges covered its true colors. The mirror that hung off the top gave her herself, but the mirror didn’t matter, it could be removed. The handle felt hot even though there was no fire on the other side, but she dared not touch it. How long had it been since she just walked around the house, just for the sake of moving? Too long. This door had been around since before she even moved in. It might even be older that her. But then why did it seem new and terrifying every time she saw it?
All she needed to do was open it. It was meant to be opened, to be walked through. All she did was stare. Leaving made it real. Opening the door made leaving real. There it was. All she had to do was move towards it. All she had to do was move her feet, left then right. She just had to lift her hand and turn the handle. It wasn’t hard. Children could do it. She had done it millions of times before. But then why wasn’t it happening? Why couldn’t she move?
That door, heavy and strong, standing tall and mocking her. When did she get so pathetic that this was hard? Her hand moved towards it. Her fingers barely brushed the handle before she pulled away. Her eyes closed as she remembered the horrible squeaking noise it made when she opened it. The way she used to run through it as a child, yearning for the comfort of her room, or the freedom of the rest of the house. She opened her eyes again and pushed herself towards it. Funny how the one thing no one ever noticed about this room happened to be the only thing standing in her way.
Maybe if the door was gone, she thought, maybe I’d be okay then. Her eyes glued to the portal, her newfound enemy. All she had to do was get rid of the door, then that first horribly difficult step wouldn’t exist anymore. Then she could leave. Her hands were throwing a desk drawer before she even noticed that she was holding one.
The corner of the drawer hit the mirror that hung over the door and shards exploded everywhere. She blinked. Before she could blink again she was stabbing the door with shards of glass. Cuts, scrapes, and little holes appeared all over the door. Then she picked up another drawer and took it to the hinges. They were old and rusted so it wasn’t long before they cracked, making the door bend forward. That didn’t stop her. She kept stabbing and hitting. Soon blood covered both of her hands, parts of her forearm and sprinkled on the floor.
Finally she stepped back and sighed. The door was on the floor and the passage way was open. She took a step out. The wall of the hallway stared back at her. The dull gray peering into her. That’s when it hit her, the open air. She took a breath but couldn’t move. The voices, the refrigerator buzzing, and her neighbor’s garage door opening, all of it struck her in the face so hard she almost fell. People, there would be people. All of them everywhere, talking, laughing, living, watching. How? How could she do it?
She started to sweat, each breath an obstacle. Her arms went around herself, hugging herself, holding herself back. Her safety was gone. What would protect her now? She turned her head and saw the rest of her house. The stairs that twisted and turned. She looked back at her feet then realized that her clothing was stained with blood as well. All that effort for nothing. Her head shook violently as she forced herself back into the room. Her arms worked quickly as she found a blanket and tape. The makeshift door hung delicately, red fingerprints decorated the corners. She sighed as she sat back down in the middle of the room. Her cell phone vibrated, they would be here now.
“Maybe I just won’t go”.
photo credit: trinitydome.com