Maire Fisher

Writing the door

The best thing about an imaginary door is that she can make any character open it. It could lead anywhere. This thought is both wonderful and terrifying. What if she creates a door her character doesn’t want to open? A door leading into darkness, down a flimsy rung-loose ladder, to a spider-webbed basement. Rats running on scrabbling claws. Stop worrying she tells herself. Get back to thoughts of freedom. She can write any door she wants to. All the materials in the world are there, pushing one after the other, through the nib of her pen. Steel bars, huge slabs of mahogany, cheap layers of thin wood, a small arched doorway set in a wall that leads to places of magic, a riddle etched in stone. She will allow the door to be, she will not think about what may or may not be behind it. Faster than thought images form – slats and panels and stained glass panes, a gauzy curtain-like shimmering of … and then one hooks to her pen. Solid heavy wood, deep gouges near the lock. Has someone else tried to open this door? There’s no time to stop to think. Around the door, bricks grow. A building, grand and forbidding.  A dark street. Where is she? What has she written herself into? And now – she writes a woman turning a corner, a confused woman, who looks uncertainly down the street, a street growing more ominous by the word. How strange. She didn’t expect her to appear. But here she is, and she has a destination.

But here she is, and she has a destination. She didn’t expect her to appear. How strange. And now – she writes a woman turning a corner, a confused woman, who looks uncertainly down the street, a street growing more ominous by the word. What has she written myself into? Where is she? A dark street. A building, grand and forbidding. Around the door, bricks grow. There’s no time to stop to think. Has someone else tried to open this door? Solid heavy wood, deep gouges near the lock. Faster than thought images form – slats and panels and stained glass panes, a gauzy curtain-like shimmering of … and then one hooks to her pen. She will allow the door to be, she will not think about what may or may not be behind it. Steel bars, huge slabs of mahogany, cheap layers of thin wood, a small arched doorway set in a wall that leads to places of magic, a riddle etched in stone. All the materials in the world are there, pushing one after the other, through the nib of her pen. She can write any door she wants to. Stop worrying she tells herself. Rats running on scrabbling claws. A door leading into darkness, down a flimsy rung-loose ladder, to a spider-webbed basement. What if she creates a door her character doesn’t want to open? This thought is both wonderful and terrifying. It could lead anywhere. The best thing about an imaginary door is that she can make any character open it.

***

I want to turn back, wish I had never come.
I am surprised I have come this far.
Under my hand the balustrade is cold, the brass gleams.
The staircase is carpeted, a plush red pile that my feet sink into.
No sound of my approach.
Is she waiting for me, peering through the peephole?
Is she ready to confront me, exact my penance?
My footsteps slow.
The heavy mahogany door towers ahead of me.
My hands are sweaty.
I rub my palms on the seat of my charcoal grey skirt.
Sombre skirt, black jacket and a white shirt.
I struggled to choose the correct clothes to wear.
I’m struggling now.
Trying to think of what I will say to her when the door opens.
I’ve run through this scene so many times in my head.
I’ve approached this door over and over in dreams – nightmares.
Two more steps and I will be at the top of the stairs.
I will lift the heavy brass knocker and she will answer the door.
And, finally I will enter.

And, finally I will enter.
I will lift the heavy brass knocker and she will answer the door.
Two more steps and I will be at the top of the stairs.
I’ve approached this door over and over in dreams – nightmares.
I’ve run through this scene so many times in my head.
Trying to think of what I will say to her when the door opens.
I’m struggling now.
I struggled to choose the correct clothes to wear.
Sombre skirt, black jacket and a white shirt.
I rub my palms on the seat of my charcoal grey skirt
My hands are sweaty.
The heavy mahogany door towers ahead of me.
My footsteps slow.
Is she ready to confront me, exact my penance?
Is she waiting for me, peering through the peephole?
No sound of my approach.
The staircase is carpeted, a plush red pile that my feet sink into.
Under my hand the balustrade is cold, the brass gleams.
I am surprised I have come this far.
I want to turn back, wish I had never come.

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