“A door in an alley. Anyone need a door?” The caption, accompanying a photo of a door, plain, white, and unassuming, propped up against assorted odds and ends in an alley, came across her newsfeed on Facebook and she realized that yes, she did need a door. The friend who posted the photo lived in the next town over. A twenty minute drive to go and fetch a door was doable and, the very next day, done.
Once she had the door in her loft she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with it, where she wanted to put it, etc. But the very fact of having the door imparted a sense of possibility to her. She was an artist and lived her life with a strong, almost religious, sensensitivity to symbolism. She propped it up against the living room wall in between her potted palm tree and her pink velvet couch that was snuggled up against a huge picture window. She knocked on the wood of the door for good luck and turned the handle too, patted it and smiled.
That night, as she lay sleeping, the door creaked open. Someone, or something, came into her loft through the door and stayed until the morning light. It left just as the sun peeked in at the window, closing the door behind it.
When she woke up she noticed that the door smelled of fresh paint and was a startling shade of green.
After this she started to sell her work to collectors who were more than casual in their appreciation of her art. In fact they were a bit fanatical and she quickly aquired a small fortune through their dedicated pursuit of the freshness they felt in the presence of her work. (One of her collectors joked about feeling like he could live forever if he could only surround himself with enough of the vitality that was his when he gazed upon her work.)
When the mysterious visitor came next it was in response to her knocking on the door, turning the handle and smiling at herself for her forgotten ritual. The next morning she awoke to the smell of fresh paint and her lucky door (for that was how she thought of it now) was blue.
The happiest time of her life followed in which she fell asleep to blue waves of contentment and woke to what seemed to be the veritable blue bird of happiness perched on the windowsill of her life every day. She did not believe things could get any better for her.
But then she met a writer, an impossibly intriguing man, imposing in his masculine beauty and whose eyes, when she met them as she entered the party, stopped her in her tracks. One thing led to another and she agreed that they should have dinner the next Friday, just the two of them.
Getting ready for her date with him she found herself drawn to her door. She gave it three light knocks and a kiss for good luck on its cerulean surface. The outline from her lipstick print beat and blurred like a heart with wings, like Cupid’s own signature carved/graffitied against the wooden surface.
After she left the door creaked open and a certain someone, or something, transformed, amid the strong smell of paint, the door to heart’s own red.
I will gloss over the way the door changed when her writer went away. He had promised her forever but he really had no say. As unpredictable as one of his own plots, his demise met him as he drove to a book signing. Death had the decency to blush at the aircraft fuselage that had dropped out of the sky and crushed her writer in his small mobile world of car on his way to sign small mobile worlds of books.
I will say only this: the door was gray.
Her door stayed the color of ashes for a very long time. But then one day something wonderful happened. Without a knock, without knuckle provocation in the least, someone, or something, opened the door and when that something left, the door was a yellow that captured all the hope of a rising sun on its grainy visage.
This layer of yellow was followed by one final coat of paint.
She awoke to find her door deepening in color, combining all the colors really, into one. As the door darkened to purple, deep brown, and finally black, she reached out her hand, turned the knob, and walked through to the other side.
“A door in an alley. Anyone need a door?” The caption, accompanying a photo of a door, plain, white, and unassuming, propped up against assorted odds and ends in an alley, came across his newsfeed on Facebook and he realized that yes, he did need a door…
— Annette Marie Smith