How To Open A Door

Go on a beach vacation for a weekend with your family. Watch your parents struggle to pretend they are not on the verge of divorce. Watch your little sister struggle to pretend she doesn’t see it. Take a walk to escape the white walls and flowered linens of the summer home. Park yourself on a salty bench next to an aging New England lighthouse. Flip through a semi-worn copy of Lolita. Lose yourself in the immensity of the Atlantic Ocean.

Hear rustling in the bushes nearby. Glance over and see nothing. Laugh at yourself a little. Hear rustling again. Stand up in shock as a tall skinny kid dressed in black runs out of the bushes toward you, waving his arms and screaming. Clutch your book to your chest and step back. Stare at the kid as he doubles over laughing. Listen as he makes an attempt to explain himself while he gasps for air. Try not to get too pissed off when you learn that he was just playing a practical joke. Try to not allow yourself to think “What the hell?” repeatedly. Try to pretend he didn’t do a good job scaring you. Ask him his name.

Spend three hours talking with him on the bench. Ask him more questions. Answer his questions. Learn that his grandmother lives fifteen minutes from you back home. Stare at him. Feel like something important is happening but wonder if your imagination is turning your life into a bad rom-com. Read him your favorite parts of Lolita. Listen to him read his favorite parts of Lolita. Stare at him. Let him draw on you with a marker. Let him write on you. Laugh when he tells you that he is not in love with you. Tell him that you are not in love with him either. Kiss him. Walk home fast and happy. Watch his words stream down your body in the form of thick black droplets when you take a shower. Feel clean. Sink in to the white sheets and white down comforter. Feel comfortable.

Spend almost every weekend sneaking out of your house and going to his grandmother’s. Meet all his friends. Fall in love with them too. Fall in love with his grandmother. Fall in love with sneaking out. Fall in love with watching him cook you pancakes at two a.m. Fall in love with your life. Go hiking. Go night swimming. Drink whiskey. Break into an abandoned building. Sleep there. Smoke weed there. Watch his post-punk band practice. Fall in love with post-punk. Dance around the living room. Play chess. Play soccer. Teach him about art. Learn about music. Write him one word notes. Cook him pancakes at two a.m. when he breaks his leg skateboarding. Refuse to be anything to him or let him be anything to you. Fall in love with nothingness. Continue to see him on the weekends after school starts up again.  Continue to hide him from your family and friends in some botched attempt at giving yourself a new start. Winter. Spring.  Begin a seriously awful relationship with one of his friends. Cry on his shoulder when it’s all over.

Spend the following summer practically living together. October. December. March. Slow dance with him in the living room. Agree to be something. Fall in love with somethingness. Spend lots of time lying in bed together. Feel comfortable. Stare at him. Sit in the woods and read him Leaves of Grass. Forget to say, ”I love you” and “Thank you” and “I’m sorry” and “I’ll miss you” and “Goodbye.” Pick up your cell phone and hear someone sobbing and saying your name over and over. Skip his funeral. Allow yourself to think “What the hell?” repeatedly.  Spend hours imagining what his body must have looked like after the accident. Feel permanently incapable of allowing him to leave your life as spontaneously as he entered it. Write about it sometimes. TC mark

image – Tiago Fernandes


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  • Alvinandthechipmunks

    Oh my god. This just gave me chills.

  • NoSexCity

    Real? Imagined?
    I have goosebumps. Well done.

  • Anonymous

    My response to this piece depends heavily on if it’s fact or fiction. Could you clarify?

  • JJ

    I kind of loved this.

  • Chel

    You began every sentence with a present tense verb – how incredibly original. I blame ThoughtCatalog for choosing this article. We’ve seen an abundance of ‘deep’ writing with the same formula. Try some originality next time? Or see whether the content is just as interesting when written in more varied form.

    • Jeffrey Moore

      Try not being a douche, especially when it’s such an emotional look into someones life.

  • Camilo Francisco Cayazaya

    Despite the harsh yet justified critique, I really connected with this. The writing style isn’t necessarily original but it’s effective and contemporary. I cried seeing the same things in this piece as in me.
    And if it’s real, I am sorry. x

  • karyn

    poking around on her blog it seems this is fact and that it was written when she was 16. thanks for writing and sharing, ally. 

  • Spencer Niemetz

    Am I the only one who feels that these dreamy, intentionally obscure recounts of a love gone bad are getting slightly monotonous? That said, incredibly well-written. And don’t get me wrong, it’s still a refreshing departure from “the internet” and “this is another problem that gay men have, AM I RIGHT OR AM I RIGHT???”

    • Diana Salier

      did you read the whole thing?

      but agreed about the gay men thing.

      • Spencer Niemetz

        If not for the ending, my comment would have ended at ‘monotonous’.

  • GrammarLord


  • Ashley

    Beautifully raw. Thanks for sharing.

  • Meghan Blalock

    Wow, thank you for sharing.

  • Olive

    Wow. This is.. yeah, wow. Thanks.

  • Raymond Thimmes

    Absolutely beautiful. Thank you for this.

  • Your Friend

    jesus christ.

  • Kristin

    this is absolutely beautiful. this happened to me last february. i hadn’t been able to find the words. thankyouthankyou, ally!

  • Yocasta Arias

    wow. It’s so real.

  • Sophia

    Wow, I was not expecting that ending.

  • David Dawson

    This is incredibly beautiful. Do you mind if I use this for a poetry assignment for my English class?

  • Guest

    About to cry

    Doesn’t help that Bright Eyes is on my itunes at the moment

  • allysamsantos

    This is amazing.

  • amerikate

    i saved this to my computer as “what the fuck even” because it sounded true and caught me by such surprise; and i want to read it more times than just once, especially when i need to actually feel other people’s feelings.

  • jaehope

    This was tragically beautiful

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