I don't like doors. I don't like the sound they make when they open, I don't like the uncertainty I feel when I knock on one and I definitely don't like the sound of them closing. So that's why when I bought my first house, I took the door off of every hinge, out of every doorway in my house; well, except the front door of course, I had to leave that on.
I stood silent, in one of the bare doorways with my hands on my hips. I curled my fingers deep into my skin. I hadn't been this upset since Rodney King got beat down and I couldn't remember how long ago that was.
"Where are you going?" I said as I watched him pack his clothes neatly in his Nike gym bag.
I could feel my blood boiling as I sucked my teeth and posed the question again. This time, though, I wasn't as refined.
"I know you hear me! I said where are you going?"
He looked over his shoulder and shook his head, like I already knew the answer to my own question.
I plopped on the bed and watched him pack slowly. My eyes met with his hands, those strong masculine hands that had so many memories of my skin embedded in them. I closed my eyes and reached out to him, only to feel his arm snatching back from me.
"What'd I do to you?" I said shooting my eyes open.
Sure we'd fought the night before, but I knew our love making session immediately afterwards was just the right amount of medicine he'd need to cure any animosity.
I wasn't really sure how'd I'd gotten here. I'm 32, fairly attractive, a 4th grade teacher inLos Angeles, I owned my own house and car and I'm in love with "him".
I call him, "him" because that's all he was. He'd made it clear that he wasn't "the one", "my honey" or even "my boo". He told me plainly in my ear one night, as we made love, that he wasn't going to get hooked on me and that this was only a short-term thing; that was 3 years, 4 months and 3 days ago.
My ears heard the words he spoke but my heart, soul and vagina had a mind of their own. I tried to tell them not to get captivated by his long flowing dread-locks, his deliciously smooth dark chocolate skin and his stunning jet black eyes; but they did.
They throbbed for him, they ached for him and most of all they loved him; they would've done any and everything to make him see that I was "the one". Anything.
Like the time I traveled to Orlando (by car) just to hear his band playing at the House of Blues. Or the time I colored my hair the exact color of his ex-girlfriends hair, because he "loved it" so much. When he told me he didn't like women who went to the club, I stopped; I was too old anyway, I told myself. I needed to be exactly who he wanted me to be. I had to make him see, what he obviously already hadn't, I was "the one".
He swept past me, just barely grazing my shoulder, and I tailed him. He was headed towards the only door I have in my house; the only exit I know: the front door.
My short legs struggled to keep up with him but soon enough, I reached him.
I tugged at his arm and he spun around to me with a look of hatred, anger and disgust plastered all over his face.
"Where are you going?" I said again, this time with a quiver in my voice.
He looked at me from the bottom of my feet to the top of my head.
"I'm leaving." He said gripping his bag straps on his shoulder.
"L-leaving? Why?" I said panicking.
"I can't take you anymore; I've found someone else." He said with his back to me.
He'd said this before but, somehow, had landed right back in my bed.
I smacked my teeth and smiled as I approached him. I ran my hand up and down his chest and cooed in his ear seductively,
"I'll do whatever you want me to do."
It was a line I'd said from the day our bodies first intertwined and a line I'd lived by for 3 years, 4 months and 3 days.
I could see his face following my hand down his chest like he was trying to make a decision. Before I know it, though, he was removing my hand from his body and screaming at the top of his lungs.
"I told you I didn't love you and I told you this wasn't forever!" He said not taking a breath.
His beautiful jet black eyes were now bulging out of his skull as he continued.
"You're spineless, needy and too damn clingy and I can't take it anymore!" He yelled loudly.
"But I did everything you…" I started as my eyes began welling up with tears.
"Exactly; but do you even know who you are?" He shouted as his dreadlocks fell in his face.
I stood silent trying to understand the words coming out of his mouth. My heart felt like it was done pumping and my blood done flowing.
Memories flashed in front of my face of all the times my friends had told me to get my priorities straight.
"You come first, girl." My sassy friend Cassandra said over lunch one day.
"He told you he didn't want to be with you?" Faith, my eclectic girlfriend from high school, said as she sat across from me and Cassandra.
"He'll come around." I said blowing all of them off with certainty.
I could feel hot tears on my face as I struggled to keep it together. He can't be leaving. My bottom lip was trembling as my hands did the same. I was falling apart right before his eyes.
"Are you done?" He asked coldly with his hand on the door knob.
I can feel that he's already gone and I can't comprehend why I hadn't been able to see this before now.
Eve, my mama and even the candy lady down the street said it: Love is blind; because I know this is love I can't let it go.
I rushed towards him, at the door, wrap my arms around his neck and I kissed him passionately.
"Maybe if I love him right; he'll stay." I say to myself as I force my tongue into his mouth. He's struggling to pull me off of him, but I'm a force to be reckoned with.
"Get off of me!" He yelled as he finally tears me off of his face. I stumbled backwards and swiftly caught my balance against a wall.
"Please don't leave me." I cried pathetically.
If I was watching this on television, I'd probably tell the girl to "get her dumb ass together and kick that loser out" but I can't; the dumb ass is me.
"Look at yourself, Carmen." He said sounding like he was concerned.
I'm leaned against the wall reaching out to him. He nods his head and pulls at the door knob; the only door I have in my life.
My body begins to shake ferociously upon hearing the creak of my front door opening. He's really leaving.I watch his back as he slowly walks out of the door; he hesitates before slamming it.
I slowly slide down the wall and sit on the floor waiting for him to return.
Hours pass and I sit motionless and by the time it reaches 3 in the morning, I finally realize it's time to get up.
I make my way to the shed in my backyard.
Weeds rustle against my ankles as I struggle with the lock. I hadn't been out there since I moved in, 3 years and 3 months ago and 16 days ago.
Through my tears I could see what I was looking for: doors.
The same doors I'd removed from my life, around the same time I'd allowed "him" in, lay against a concrete wall.
I heaved each door into the house one by one. I didn't care that it was late and my hands hurt, this had to be done. I didn't care that my head was thumping and my body was exhausted, I knew what I had to do.
I went from door to door, room to room and screwed each door back on the hinges.
Even though I hated them, the doors were so much bigger than that. As I struggled with my bedroom door, I closed my eyes and thought about who I'd become.
When I met him, I removed all the doors from my house as well as my heart and allowed myself to feel every emotion attached to "him", raw. But as he walked out of my life and my front door, I felt the sudden urge to protect what I had freely exposed: my heart.
I needed to guard my heart because as I started becoming someone I didn't recognize,doing things I couldn't understand, I began neglecting the very organ that kept me alive.
I allowed my heart to handle all the excruciating labor while I sent it out into a battlefield without as much as a helmet on. I realized I did know who I was and what I wanted and as much as it hurt it wasn't him.
I followed his last order to me, hesitantly. "Look at yourself." I heard his voice say in my head.
Spinning around I faced myself. My slanted brown eyes were red and puffy from the hours of crying, my hair was a mess and my face looked swollen. I smoothed my shabby hair down and wiped clean the traces of mascara on my cheeks. My body hurt, my heart hurt and most of all my pride hurt. But regardless of all the pain, my appearance and complete disarray, I was still standing. I'd told myself that as soon as he was removed from my equation air would cease to exist, taste would disappear and sound would have no meaning.
But I was standing tall. I was here- - all alone- - but I was still here.
Proudly I stood back and admired my finished bedroom door with a grin on my face. It was nearing 5:30 in the morning and my eyes were growing heavy. I jiggled the door knob of my bedroom door and awkwardly opened it. I fell into bed and looked at the ceiling and soon his face was right in front of me. I jumped out of bed, raced to the open door, slammed it and quickly locked it. The next time it would be opened would be by the person with the key; until then I'm content with the doors that surround me.
by: Ebonee Monique
Award-nominated author, Black Expressions Book Club Author and Peace in the Storm Publishing Author of "Suicide Diaries", "Walk a Mile" and "Blitz"