This post is a piece of creative writing in response to the Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge, Through the Door. The door to your house/flat/apartment/abode has come unstuck in time. The next time you walk through it, you find yourself in the same place, but a different time entirely. Where are you, and what happens next?
My absence was unintentional. An Act of God, fate, a random gypsy curse, call it what you will. I never planned to be gone so long and after almost three years my life had ground to a halt. Time in the wilderness had sapped my energy, eroded my confidence and chipped away at my resolve. My legs trembled uncontrollably as I walked from the lift along the short corridor to the studio. Hearing commotion on the stairs I fumbled for the keys in my purse and quickly moved my shaking hand towards the deadlock. Neighbours were best avoided. They’d ask questions I’d be unable to answer.
I pushed the heavy door ajar and as I stepped over the threshold music drifted towards me. The song was somehow familiar but I hadn’t heard it for a very long time. ‘It’s too cold outside, for angels to fly, to fly, to fly. An angel will die.’ I remembered liking the song even though it was tinged with sadness and my weary mind searched for the name of the artist. Ed, it was definitely Ed, but the surname escaped me. There was no music during my sojourn and my memory was rusty. I shrugged my shoulders and thought no more of it.
The hallway was as I remembered, a little too grand given the size of the studio. We’d talked about redesigning it if we owned the place but we were renting. Buying a place like this was completely out of our league. Light shone into the hall from all angles, gleaming off the polished floor and glossy doors. Suddenly I felt as if I was in the spotlight and a sea of glowing dots swam before my eyes making me reach out for the coat stand. I knew this feeling; I was about to faint. Tremulously and with caution I turned from the hall to the bathroom, splashed my face with water and sat on the edge of the bath. Music was still playing softly in the background, ‘the worst things in life come free to us…’
I don’t know how long I sat in the bathroom; it might have been minutes or hours. The mirrored cabinets were as pristine as ever, no fingerprints or toothpaste splashes. A razor and a bottle of Radox stood on the edge of the bathtub, fluffy towels lay neatly folded over the heated rail. The linen basket, empty as always, was just inside the door. My breathing returned to normal and I ventured from the bathroom back into the hallway.
I looked towards the lounge/diner. The sofas, cushions and side tables were all just as I remembered. The ugly sideboard, a cross between office furniture and airline baggage storage, still held its imposing position casting a shadow over everything else in the room. On the balcony a rain-stained chair and some discarded cigarette butts from the apartment above competed for my attention, immediately triggering my need to clean up, to keep everything wholesome and untainted. I couldn’t find the key to the French doors and as I tried the handle I remembered I was afraid of heights. I wouldn’t be going outside after all.
As I turned back from the window memories flooded my brain, everlasting feelings of love, companionship and unerring loyalty for my soul mate. I never intended to be away so long and now I could feel the excitement building, the butterflies that meant I would see Eden again. Years had passed but I still felt the same, Eden was my soul mate and that was all that mattered.
Something compelled me towards the kitchen. It was spotless as ever, foodstuffs, crockery and cutlery neatly concealed in cupboards or drawers. Except the tea. The teabags sat on the counter next to the microwave ready to be brewed into a refreshing cuppa with minimal effort. It was such a long time since Eden and I had enjoyed a cup of tea together. Although I wasn’t hungry (and now I thought about it I couldn’t remember the last time I’d eaten), curiosity insisted I should open the fridge. I smiled. Carrots, sun-dried tomatoes, pate, beetroot… and monkfish? I frowned. I couldn’t recall a time when we’d eaten monkfish but my memory was so ethereal at times. ‘…Her face seems, slowly sinking wasting, crumbling like pastries…’ the song was still playing from a speaker somewhere nearby.
Footsteps. I recognised them. Eden was approaching and my heart raced with excitement. He would be so surprised to find me here, to have me back from… well I wasn’t quite sure where from but the main thing was that I was here and home for good. Keys turned in the lock and as the handle twisted I moved from the kitchen into the hallway. I wanted to throw my arms around Eden’s neck, to kiss him, tell him I was sorry for going away, let him know I loved him more than ever.
“Come on in Rachel, I’ll run you a bath. You must be exhausted.” Whoa… Rachel?! I watched as a very attractive brunette walked into the studio behind Eden. “Thanks love,” she said.
My head was spinning, I felt faint again and my heart pounded faster than I ever imagined possible. Raw emotions flooded through me. “Who is she, Eden?” I asked. He didn’t look at me, carried right on into the bathroom and started to run the bath. In my confusion Rachel had slipped past me towards the kitchen. I turned from the hall and confronted the tall, beautiful woman who had taken over my home and done who knows what with my soul mate. “Hello Rachel. What exactly are you doing here with Eden?” She called to Eden. “Honey, did you forget to close the fridge this morning?” and then she walked straight through me.
Sheeran, that was it, Ed Sheeran. The song continued playing… ‘An angel will die, covered in white, closed eye and hoping for a better life.
This time, we’ll fade out tonight.’