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The Door

"Love's room beckons through an open door."

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For months, she and I would talk to each other at length about nothing at all and everything in particular. Life, current events, what occupied our mind, what we did last night or the day before and so on. The conversation was convivial. I found her to be a charming and engaging woman. She was intelligent and well spoken, her words were chosen carefully with rarely an utter of profanity emerging from her lips.

I always spoke to her while sitting in the same room. It was comfortable and quiet, decorated in a nondescript way, but inviting just the same furnished with two wingback chairs, a sofa and coffee table between them. There were two doors, one from which I would come and go and a door that led to an adjacent room. It was that second door that piqued my interest. Regardless of the time of day, there was a soft glow of light that was visible from the crack beneath and I was drawn toward it. That was her door.

The wingback chair that faced her door directly was where I sat during these conversations. From that location in the room, her voice could be heard clearly, and it faced her door that made me feel as though I was looking directly at her. I often wondered what lay on the other side, but I was mindful not to be too inquisitive.

Over time, this room drew me with greater frequency. Even though at times she wasn’t there to talk to, I would just sit in what I referred to as “My Chair” and wait outside her door. The light that spilled from beneath soothed my soul and it felt right to be this close. I had come to the realization that what was kept on the other side of the door agreed with me.

An uncommon goodness radiated from the other side, something natural and genuine was kept safe there. I kept trying to rationalize my feelings and make sense of it. What was it about this place that I found so appealing? What kept drawing me here? Regardless, I knew that being here felt right. I decided not to over analyze it. This was not complex, this was easy.

It occurred to me that at some point in time I had introduced a new element to my routine here. Upon entering the room, I would walk to her door and simply place my hand upon it. It helped me feel connected to her as if I were touching her. Of course, anyone would laugh at that thought and say that’s not possible. But I drew strength from this routine. There were also moments when I would look down at the doorknob with curiosity. I was tempted to place my hand on it to see if it would turn freely or bind against the latch set. Yet I remained content to leave the knob undisturbed and simply found comfort in the presence of it and her door.

Then one day I entered the room and placed my hand on the door, as had become my custom, and it swung quietly ajar. It startled me and my heart faltered. I quickly reached for the knob, it was smooth and felt warm to the touch, and I pulled the door quietly closed.

How odd, I thought. Certainly, she hadn’t realized that it had become unlatched. How easy it would have been to peer inside, and view the contents of that room. Though no gentleman in his right mind would do such a thing uninvited.

I discovered the same thing happening on subsequent visits. Each time the door would come ajar in the door jamb and each time I pulled the latch tight simply to keep her safe. You see, my fondness for her had grown, and I knew she was worth protecting.

And then one day as I entered the room I noticed that the door stood ajar. Not just unlatched, but it was actually open this time.

“Hello?” I called through the open door.

“Hello. Please come in.” came her soft reply.

I slowly cautiously pushed the door the rest of the way open and stood on the threshold. It was instantly comforting to be standing there. It reminded of a place I’ve longed for but haven’t visited in recent memory. I slowly stepped inside and quietly closed the door behind me. I found a chair near a small table and sat down. I didn’t know what to say at first, but soon we were conversing as usual except there was a new clarity here that I wasn’t quite accustomed to. Her voice was clearer, softer, kinder and inexplicably soothing. As we talked, I felt a happiness washing over me, and a smile spread across my face.

The room was warm, and that warmth was the first thing I noticed each time I walked through the door. It always felt the same to me when I was here. It was consistent. I knew right away that I liked this room. No, I loved this room, very much and slowly began exploring its content.

One wall was covered with photographs, reminders of memories, people, places and things that are important to her. There were so many, and they covered the entire wall. Photos of faces forming a timeline that spanned years, many overlapping and some covered by others. You could spend years sorting through them and never manage to see but a fraction of them.

Along another wall, there were, from floor to ceiling, stacks of books that had been read. Journals and notebooks full of entries. Recipes and address books Ticket stubs from movies, concerts and carnival rides. Handwritten notes and reminders. Souvenirs and mementos kept in drawers and keepsake boxes. Report cards and class photos. There were piles of clothes that spanned the years and the cycles of fashion. Boxes of cassette tapes and compact disks, video tapes and newspapers. Music could always be heard, and it was a soundtrack that spanned a lifetime. There were puzzles and board games that showed signs of wear. At first glance, this place was a chaos of clutter. It was an absolute mess on the surface. But when you looked deeply, it became clear that there was a well-defined order and meaning to it all that made perfect sense. For everything was in its intended place. You simply had to look carefully and thoroughly. If you didn’t take the time to do so, then you certainly had no business being in this room at all.

I stopped for a moment as something on the floor had caught my eye. It appeared as if something had spilled there over time. I looked up for a moment to see if there were a leaky pipe in the ceiling that no one had bothered to tend to. But I knew instantly that I was wrong, this was the place where tears flowed. Not continually thankfully as the floor boards were dry, but the evidence was here just the same. I knelt down and ran my fingers over the stained floorboard. I felt a heaviness in my heart and reverence for this particular part of the room. What I wouldn’t give to wash these floor boards clean and erase the evidence here. I immediately knew that I did not wish her to visit this spot again and made a mental note to exercise the utmost care to keep her safe and protected.

I stood and turned to face the remaining wall. I pondered its empty shelves and cabinets for a moment and immediately understood its purpose. I smiled softly and felt a happiness that had been missing for so long settle into my heart. I bowed my head and said a soft prayer. I’m not a religious man, but this place has affected me in ways I cannot explain. I slowly turned and returned to the chair that had become mine.

This room is a place of refuge for me. My waking hours are spent here. When I sleep at night, this is where I come to dream. In this room I feel stronger, I feel tranquil and safe here. I feel loved.

This is no ordinary room as I’m sure you know. It is a place that is sacred, cherished, guarded and held with care and reverence. It’s not open to just anyone at all. To be invited inside is an honor and a privilege. It is humbling and not to be taken lightly.

She has graciously and willingly built this room for me, and she calls this place mine. She constructed and revealed it to me when I expected it least, but I knew it had happened. You see, she too once sat outside my door. Now she holds the key to a very similar door, the door to my heart and that makes me a very lucky man.
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