I live in a yellow house. With purple flower boxes and a circular driveway. A large, angled cherry blossom tree lay to the right of the driveway, its gentle, pregnant branches brushing the concrete ground with its swollen blossoms in the spring. Light filtered through the open front door, sun streaming in a drunken manner, filtered and shooting in random directions, creating a tipsy halo for whoever stood in the doorway. This angel stood in the doorway, back to the setting sun on a Tuesday afternoon in early May, bag hung over his shoulder and head bent to the ground as he gathered his keys. For these few moments, this figure was ethereal, and not of this earth. Of course, the facade was quickly shattered when he lifted his head and I realized who this mortal was. The image cracked, achingly so, the sadness at this fading beauty so grand that it swelled against my chest. Pushing against my heart and closing in on my throat.
He looked up, and shut the door, and I was almost lost. I almost lost my control, my hold on this crushing emotion, barely contained within my body, like a dam whose wall is close to bursting. The door shutting, slowly, as if pushing back against the man, prolonging the endless moment between light and dark. The sun’s rays were soon lost behind the purple door with the Christmas wreath that was not yet taken down. With this closing door, I see my childhood. The rays of light, delicate and naive, thinking they were strong enough to penetrate the thick wooden door.
My past was left behind with this door, that purple door shutting behind it my favorite memories of lazy sunlit afternoons. The closed door, leading into the house, represents who I am now. This quasi-adult who thinks she knows the truth, but is quick to doubt herself. Who yearns for her early childhood years. For those early school mornings filled with chocolate cereal and cartoons. And that in between state, before the constricts of society, before the careful, afraid demeanor took over her brain like a disease.
Where I think before I speak, but I never stop thinking. I’m stunted, a growing defect, a sprained brain that severs the translation from the words in my brain to the muscles of my mouth. The words are lost, the intentions never acted upon, like tourists in a foreign country. This surgery, that sewed into me that innate doubt of adulthood, is that shutting door. The action of the door shutting, of the light struggling to pierce through to no avail, is my mind being left in a dark clarity.
The man who shuts this door follows the transition with me, from this childlike god, to the monster who left me in the dark. And who would soon walk out of that door himself. Leaving a trail of darkness that will take years to sift through. Viscous and sticky, like oil, covering everything, destroying all that is beautiful and free. The darkness shifted from just covering the home, this innocent, gentle home, to creating a sluggish vat made up of black liquid, painful remembrances, and tearful goodbyes. In which we were expected to continue living, as though a horror had not occurred here. As though a monster, a murderer had not come and taken the soul, the life from two children. One passing in his sleep, blissfully unaware as a five year old. The other left to endure the torture of extended apologies, assumed forgiveness, and unconditional love. But how do you love unconditionally when the portion of your heart that governs forgiveness, kindness, self-acceptance, and love, has been kidnapped in the blank afternoon of a calm Sunday. Little was the child who believed in love without pain. Naive was the girl who associated love with pain. Struggling is the woman who has not managed to differentiate between the two, but continues the search for her kidnapped sense of safety, gone from her heart for too long.