The Door

The Door

By James O’Keefe

Featured in the Word Art Exhibition at the Renmark Paringa Council Chambers as part of the 2013 SALA Festival.

“But The Door does exist. I’ve seen it!” I yelled at Dad.

I stormed off, the loud thuds of my booted feet hitting the polished wooden floors reverberating through the hallway.  I paused for a moment going up the stairs as I saw The Door. I continued along the hallway. The door slammed with a satisfying bang as I burst into my room. I threw myself upon my bed, grabbed the pillow and cried for what seemed like an eternity.

Knock, knock.

“Go away,” I screamed.

Again; the knock at the door. I sighed and swung the door open. Mum stood there waiting patiently. “What?”

“Can I come in?” she asked calmly.


“I want to talk.” She stared at me for a moment, her eyes bearing down at me like a deer caught in the beams of headlights. It was enough for me to know that she wasn’t going to take no for an answer.

“Alright,” I sighed as I turned around a sat down on the bed. Mum stood there for a moment before coming in, closing the door quietly behind her. She sat next to me, wrapping her long arm around my shoulder, giving me a tight hug. Her hand rubbed up and down around my shoulder.

“Now tell me what’s wrong,” she said, gently squeezing my hand.

I hesitated for a moment.

“Dad doesn’t believe me.”

“Doesn’t believe you about?” Mum prompted.

I sat there for a moment. I was unsure if she would believe me or not, seeing Dad didn’t.  I resigned to the fact that I should tell her the truth. “There is a door under the stairs,” I said slowly.

I felt Mum’s body stiffen. No way! She believed me.

“A door under the stairs you say?” Mum took her arm off me and spun around to look at me at a more straight angle.

I looked up at her and could see the genuine look of surprise and of hiding a deep secret. “Mum, I can tell you are hiding something.”

“Tell me what the door looks like?” she asked.

“Wooden with a very old fashioned gold handle. The door has a golden brown colour. It’s quite strange. Some days I can’t see it; then other times it can be easily seen with the odd time it’s not quite there.” I took a deep breath. “You are going to say I’m crazy aren’t you?”

Mum sat there silently.

I took that as a no. I still wasn’t sure if she believed me or not. She tilted her head to the side, the way she always does when she is waiting for more.

“One day I could hear voices and what sounded like wind coming from behind it. I went to open it but it vanished before I could do that.” I looked down at the floor; I didn’t want to see Mum’s face.

Mum placed her hand on my knee. “Sweetie, I have to tell you something.” I continued to stare at the floor. “Please look at me,” she said as she placed her hand under my chin. I knew I couldn’t resist against this, it was her signature move to get me to listen. It always worked. I looked up at her. She was smiling.

“I believe you. I have seen the door all my life. I have even opened it to see what was on the other side but closed it quickly as things were trying to get out. Your father always thought I was crazy. For some reason he has never been able to see it.”

I smiled as well, relief flooding through. My whole body relaxed as I hugged Mum. “I’m so glad that you believe me.”

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