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.
“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.”