Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
by Sara Dean
by Annie Qian
The front door to your home.
You’ve never really thought about it, have you? It’s just a door. You turn the knob and open it. Once you go through the doorway, you turn the knob again and close it. Maybe you turn the lock, too, or you put a key in to turn the lock the other way. Sometimes you decorate it for a holiday. But it’s never seemed like anything special, right? It’s just there. Just a door.
But is it really just a door? It certainly looks like one. It’s a tall wooden rectangle painted green or brown or blue, with a shiny metal knob and lock dulled by the touch of countless hands. Each of those hands belonged to a person who probably passed through the door at some point. Guests have been welcomed on either side of that wooden divider, and farewells have been said. How many times has a “hi” and a “bye” been said under the door’s simple frame? How many times has it been slammed in a fit of anger so hard that the force makes it tremble? What kind of news has passed under this door? A spontaneous party at a neighbor’s house? The death of a relative? Festivities for a holiday?
Up until I was about nine or ten years old, that worn green door was the portal to fun and imagination. At that time, I didn’t have much homework to do, and neither did my neighbors, so we would play together almost every afternoon. I’d hear a ding-dong from the doorbell and rush to the sound, opening the door to see my friends’ grinning faces. Then they would say that simple line.
“Do you want to play?”
Sometimes we’d play in their yard, sometimes in my yard. But most of the time, the game began and finished with the opening of the front door. The parent would call, and that would be the end of it. That door saw the last goodbye from me to my friends in the summer between second and third grade, before I left that door behind and moved on to a new one.
The new door is not used to me, nor I to it. It has seen visitors come and go, and it has opened the way to fun and imagination — but not for me. Now it is my brother’s turn to dash to the door at the sound of the doorbell, to open it to find his friends waiting. My relationship with the door is like two workers in a factory. When it signals that someone is here, I go and open it. When the guests have stepped inside, I close it. When the path to it is buried by snow in winter, I go dig it out. We work with each other, but we are not friends any longer. It is just there. Just a door.