The Door

I swallowed down the last of the Glenlivet 12-year single malt.  The condensation had dripped off the glass onto an old copy of Walden sitting on my nightstand.  I sat on the edge of the bed staring at the piles of dirty clothes on the floor and ran my hands through my greasy hair.

It was still light outside, even after nine.  But all the birds had stopped singing their sunset songs and only the grey of dusk filled the sky, waiting for night to take over.  The air in the room was stale.  After a string of 100˚ days, the heat had sucked the life out of everything.

Springs in the mattress groaned as I pushed off the bed.  A head-rush nearly dropped me back down, as a few empty bottles of Session lager rolled under the dresser.  Only one shirt left in the drawer; it looked clean enough under the fluorescent bulb glowing on the wall.

Dull noises from my roommate’s television murmured through the paper-thin walls.  Two other people lived in the house but I never saw either of them.  A weird thing to be so close to someone else and know nothing about them.  An arrangement of circumstance, a month to month of individual reclusion.

I left my room and walked to the front door, opening it to the outside world.  Floral street lay quiet except for two girls riding on their bikes, laughing at something one of them had said.  Our grass was slowly dying, unwatered and unkempt, the weeds were taking over.  The neighbors had been busy all week planting sunflowers and mums in their garden; it was pretty, and only emphasized the shambles of our house.

The school across the street was out for summer, the playground was silent.  A month earlier, sounds of screaming children filled the air all day long.  Occasionally, a family would come to the swings and mess around for an hour, and a hint of that racket would return.  But I liked it.  I liked it when that sound broke into the empty stillness of the house, through the paper-thin walls.  It said there was something out there.  It said I was not alone.