The Door

Tby cheri sabraw

Most of us take doors for granted, like we do our feet and teeth.

Only when a door is unhinged does the privacy it creates become appreciated.

Surely, the door is a fine literary symbol used in contrast to the window.  Kafka opened doors and then closed (and sometimes slammed) them in the faces of his frustrated protagonists. Standing at their windows, shut out from the status quo of society and its bureaucracy, his characters viewed their world and its misery through their own ocular windows and the ostracism was complete.

Think of all the doors you have opened and then closed in your lifetime. Some you have left open; some you have shut with authority; others you have carefully secured in the early dawn before you left.

A door offers a tantalizing but fierce choice–to engage, go out, go in, and do. As the Doors’ lyrics remind us, Light my Fire.

I tend to notice how people present the front doors to their homes. I think (and perhaps this is the downfall of the English major) that a door indicates more than its functional use.

Does it need to be refinished? Do cobwebs settle on the top of it? Is an old-soul plant resting at its base? Is a chubby Buddha sunken into silver river rocks there by its side to remind all who enter to be at peace? A front door says a great deal about the person behind the entry.

I will admit that I have been a door-slammer. As a willful child, I took great satisfaction in throttling up my dramatic show of anger with a piercing scream of defiance in the family room and then running at full tilt down our long hallway, unmuffled,  finally reaching my bedroom. There the crescendo would build to a cracking climax–that of the solid-core door being slammed against its jambs with the wind-up of a skilled pitcher, say like Juan Marichal. The walls would reverberate, only to followed by the ominous click of my father’s footsteps coming down the hall at lightening speed and with authority.

In my marriage, I have thrown a few doors hard against their bearings and then dissolved onto my bed in a temper-tantrum of tears.

Too, I have opened many doors to complete bliss–seeing a grandchild for the first time in the hospital nursery, entering our hotel room on my wedding night, or stepping into a cozy beach house, escaping from a turbulent rain.

And then there were those doors whose knobs I hesitated to turn–the door to my parents’ bedroom, wherein lay my father, moments away from death, nineteen years ago this Thursday; the door to my classroom, N-9, a chamber where magic and fire, tears and laughter reigned for so many years, and the last glance into my house on San Martin Street, where we raised our children during their teenage years and where we were young, vigorous, and anticipatory.

The door is a paradox: it shuts us in and protects while it opens to possibility and beckons; it reminds us of finality while at the same time, suggests that we consider whim.





About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in Education, Life, On fiction, Writing and Teaching and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to The Door

  1. A wonderful piece, Cheri, touching my swinging door going in and going out never mind saying hello and kissing goodbye.

    • Ladybugg says:

      Oh it is always so special when your fairy dust sprinkles this blog, MJ. Your new (?) web page is beautiful because of all the meaningful work you do. Kisses!

  2. Christopher says:

    Doors control entrances and egresses, as do gates and windows.

    Small wonder, then, that Bill Gates named his now ubiquitous computer operating-system, Windows.

  3. shoreacres says:

    Such a delightful post, Cheri. I love both windows and doors, and you’ve captured so much of their magic and energy — both postive and negative.

    The most difficult door-closing I ever experienced was walking out of my mother’s apartment after she had died, and I’d finished clearing out her things. Even now, I can feel my chest tighten, just thinking about it.

    On the other hand, one of my funniest closed-door memories involves Mom, too. It was Easter Sunday, and she had thrown the deadbolt to keep me out of her apartment, because she wasn’t pleased with me. (That’s a whole story, too long for a comment.)

    Being the smart cookie I am, I yelled through the door, “I know you’re in there. Either open this door in five minutes, or I’m calling the police. I’ll tell them I think you’ve had a heart attack, and they need to break the door down.”

    I timed her. Three and a half minutes.

  4. Richard says:

    I now have thuraphobia.

    Can a door be both open and shut? Or neither open nor shut? They say it can be half open, or half shut but is it a conspiracy? A gap may be left open by an unhinged door, but what of the door itself? When is a door not a door? When it’s ajar? What’s behind a green door?

    I can’t get in! ………… I can’t get out!

    I’ll have to call my neighbour, Sheri Lock-Homes.

    • Ladybugg says:

      I’m dizzy reading this series of deep questions. Tell me more about a green door.
      You should not call this detective. She loves details but has directional problems.

        • Ladybugg says:

          Ohhhhhhhhh…..I know what’s behind the Green Door now…Stevens, here, reminds me of an Elvis/Orbison hybrid. That set and its ” special effects” tickled me.

          • Cyberquill says:

            Shakin’ Stevens is an interesting performer in that he managed to become the biggest-selling British rock star of the entire 1980s yet remain 100% unknown in the U.S. The way he used to sweep the European charts, one would have thought he’d score at least one hit in the States. But nothing. Cliff Richard sort of took a bath in the U.S. as well, but not as bad as Stevens (or “Shaky” as he’s commonly referred to in the Old World). I could never quite figure out why.

            • Ladybugg says:

              After watching the YouTube you posted, I agree. Why wasn’t he known in the USA? Was the stage too crowded. As I remember, the 80’s weren’t the greatest decade for American rock and roll.

              • Cyberquill says:

                Maybe he was too Elvis-y in his presentation and to Roy-Orbison-y vocally. The Americans probably felt no need to import these characteristics when they held a proprietary claim on the originals. Who knows. I checked CD stores in NYC. The guy simply doesn’t seem to exist stateside. He’s like Winnetou, the most famous Apache chief ever (except in America).

              • Ladybugg says:

                Seems to me you have written about Winnetou before.

              • Cyberquill says:

                Probably. Must have been either me or Andreas.

            • wkkortas says:

              Hey! I have some Shakin’ Stevens on vinyl! Actually, it’s odd that he never crossed over–he’s closer to legit rockabilly than Brian Setzer (who started here, crossed over to Europe, and then back here.)

        • Ladybugg says:

          Thank you for directing me to the white wall and the alluring green door. I, too, have walked through it, into a world I have been before, full of velvety black panthers and a handsome prince. The choice to visit often or tend to responsibility faces us all and more so as we age. The green door becomes shinier, illusory, and hypnotic. The panthers become vehicles.

          In my years of literary analysis, many gardens presented themselves. I shall gratefully add this garden story to my own imagination.
          Funny, our door here at the rancho is green.

          For a complete twist on this lovely story, read Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Rappaccini’s Garden.

  5. Cyberquill says:

    And then, of course, there’s the perennial debate over home-made vs. store-bought jambs.

  6. I love windows, doors, archways, stairways. Anything which takes us from one place to another or one dimension to another. It’s the mystery of never knowing what might await.

  7. I’m Kafka ignorant, except that he chewed his food noisily and his father couldn’t watch the process. nothing to do with stairs unless he kicked him down one.

  8. Ladybugg says:

    Try reading one of his short stories, Kayti. They will drive you crazy but stay with you for life.

  9. Jim Block says:

    Very well written! Doors have a myriad of symbols…you have some interesting observations! Bravo!

  10. Cheri says:

    Well thank you Jim! You have witnessed a few of the doors I jave slammed. And you have hung a few, too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s