BEYOND THE CLOSED DOOR
“ Oh, what a small door! What’s in there? The dollhouse, perhaps? Oh, but you’re a boy, sorry, excuse me!” Lucy had run ahead of him down the stairs and now she was standing in front of the narrow door, no more high than three feet, which was next to the cellar door. Her hand on the handle, Lucy was trying to open the little door. “ But it’s closed! It takes the key ( to open it)! Don’t you have the key?” Lucy asked him, impatiently . “ I don’t have the key” Stephan answered.
“ Oh, but what is in a room with a such small door?” She asked, with her eyes flashing with curiosity, indeed she was sparkling curiosity from all pores. Then he, Stephan, had to tell her. almost sadly, that he didn’t know , since he had never gone through that little door, he had never entered that room….if there was really a room beyond that small door, which he doubted very much. But he couldn’t say Lucy this. Now Stephan was thinking that he shouldn’t have invited ( he would not have to invite) the little girl to his house. She was too curious, a real snooping, sure that she could create problems, annoyances. Oh, but Lucy had insisted so much to be able to come, to see his house. Lucy was a classmate of his. That afternoon they had done their homework together , then Lucy had asked him to let her see his house, which was a wide house on two floor, in addition to the attic and the underground, where the cellar was located and…even that small door which was always closed, or , that is, to be precise , which had been always closed for him. He had been forbidden not only to open it, to try to enter that door, but also to ask questions about the reason for this prohibition. When he was told that it was better for him not to even think about that door, that for him it had to be as if that door was not there, also Stephan had asked what was beyond that small door. “ Whatever it is, it doesn’t concern you” This had been the answer, given in an almost solemn tone, by his mother, who had looked at him sideways, with that stern teacher gaze which seemed to slip from under her glasses, with that wiggle of the turned nose, to underline the prohibition. Stephan was nine years old , he lived with his Mom and grandparents, who were his mother’s parents. He had never seen his father, as if he had never a father . Indeed both his mother and his grandparents had always said ( told) him : oh, his father? Did he want to know who was his father? Oh, come on, he, Stephan, didn’t have a father, his father didn’t exist. But how? Stephan had insisted, since his schoolmates had assured him, convinced ,that he had to have a father too, go on…since everyone had a father. The same had said him aunt Erminia, who was an aunt of his grandmother, and from time to time spent some weeks at Stephan’s home( house). “ Oh, my dear child” aunt Erminia had said, smoothing his head “ oh, but of course, you have a father too, sure that your father exists! “ “ Do you know him, Aunt?” He had asked, trembling for hope and impatience. Aunt Erminia hadn’t answered his question. She had shaken her head and had said, sighing :” Eh, you know, they there….your mother and so much dear grandparents….eh, they don’t even hear saying that you could have a father. So they invented that he doesn’t exist, that someone who was your father never existed….” But you, Aunt, do you know him, my father?” Stephan had asked again.
That small door, which always remained closed, had to have really intrigued Lucy so much, that even in the following days she continued to pester him about it. “ But have you really never tried to open that door? Possible?” She asked him in a tone that was a bit joking, a bit teasing. “ Ah, if I were in your place I would have tried to open that door for a long time” She said. No, he, Stephan had never even thought of trying to open that door. “ Ah, but why?” Lucy insisted to answer. And then he had mumbled that her mother was very strict,,,,,and also that his mother would get very angry, if he dared to disobey her, breaking her ban, and he didn’t want make her mother angry. “ What a good child!” Lucy then mocked him, giggling. “ Stephan, like that good little boy he is, he doesn’t want to upset her mommy! Hee…hee…hee, on, but say that you are afraid of the punishment that your mother could give you if you broke her ban!” Lucy said, while she kept laughing , And she called Stephan the beautiful little treasure of his mommy, who was such a good obedient child! Then Lucy tried to convince Stephan to open that door. They would try it together. It would be not at all difficult. They could break the lock with a screwdriver or even ( instead) they could get the key. On, it was not difficult for him to steal the key of that door, which his mother had certainly to have. Come on, she ( Lucy) couldn’t believe that door was never opened by anyone. Ah, Stephan said, sighing, he had never seen it ( that door) open…..so, if it was opened, it had to happen when he was not at home. And for the key he really had no idea where it could be…..Stephan wanted to add that he didn’t even want to know ( where it was), since he didn’t feel like stealing it. But he didn’t say this, since he knew Lucy hadn’t given up. She said that, oh, they could always get ( have ) the key, making it do . What did it take? It would be enough to take the imprint of the lock, oh, she would have explained him how to do it. Then , they had to go to a hardware store where the key would have been made. Now, precisely near Lucy’s house there was a hardware store, so she would go there to have the key made. He, Stephan, had to think only of taking the imprint of the lock. But Stephan had kept saying that no, he really didn’t feel like to open that door, which he had been forbidden to open. If they had forbidden him ( to open that door), a reason ( a why) there had to be. “But of course there is a reason” Lucy said, with an insinuating voice, peering at him stealthily. “ On, don’t tell me you’re not curious to find out ( to know).Look, I, and that door is not in my house, that it does not concern me, I’m dying of the curiosity of what is beyond that door “ She continued to speak, all hoping to convince Stephan. But he really did not feel like breaking the prohibition to open that door.
Thus Lucy, she began, as if by chance, nonchalantly, to speak of his father. “ Ah, honey, but also about your father, yes, your nonexistent father! They, your sweet grandparents and your mommy , told you A VERY BIG LIE, didn’t they?” She asked, all smiling, with an insinuating voice.
“ What does my father have to do with that door?” Stephan protested, resentful- Also Lucy, like the other classmates had told ( assured) him that , but of course , someone who was his father, had to be ( to exist) or, at least, had to have been, in the case ( if) he died in the meantime.
“ Eh, my dear, and instead your father, that is the big lie they told you about him, it could have to do with that door, or, ( and) with the prohibition to open that door” Lucy said, looking at him sideways to see the effect her words had achieved. “ You mean….you mean that….that….” Stephan couldn’t finish his question. But she, Lucy, understood that she had made it ( finally).
Now Stephan would dare (was ready to) to break the ban. He would open that door.
That small door didn’t really stay closed all the time. At least once a week Stephan’s mother opened it and came in…..a room, perhaps, if it was a room which was beyond that small door. Lucy had insisted that Stephan investigate to find out when his mother opened the small door, in order to observe how she opened it, and what she did soon after having opened the door. Stephan, even though he feared what could happen if his mother had noticed that he was spying on her, ( he) had undertaken to keep an eye on that door, to be able to see when it was open. Very early one morning, when he should still be in bed, the little boy had been awakened by almost hard knocks , as dull thuds, that seemed to come from the stairs. Eh, they could be footsteps coming down the stairs of someone who beat harder one foot on the step every two steps . It seemed that someone was going down the stairs leading to the underground. Stephan jumped out of the bed and, in his pajamas and barefoot, he ran in a hurry to the landing of the stairs, where ( from where) he saw not only his mother, as he expected ( to see), but also his grandmother and his grandfather who, leaning on the stick, went down the stairs followed by his mother. Crouched at the top of the stairs, trying to hide behind a chair, the little boy kept on looking at them as they went down the stairs. It took them not a few time to get to the underground, as his grandparents advanced ( moved) slowly, with great caution and his mother too, since she was following them. ( she stayed behind them)
Arrived at the bottom of the stairs and reached the underground his mother preceded his grandparents and she was first in front of the small door. Stephan was trembling with impatience to see that door open , to see the key with which it would be opened. He came out of his almost hiding place ( came out from behind the chair) and, no matter how much he was trembling with fear____his mother, or his grandmother, or his grandfather , they could have turned their heads at any time , looked up at the stairs behind them and so they would have noticed his presence, and they would have understood that he was spying on them_____although in the grip of anxiety and fear of being seen, now he stood upright, leaning against the railing, all taken by observing very carefully what was going on with that door. But what he saw he didn’t really expect. The surprise was very upsetting for Stephan. He was not in the skin for the impatience to see that door open, sure that he would also have seen the key with which the door would be opened. He and Lucy had to get a key like that, unless they decided to open the door by picking the lock. But, incredible! No key was used to open that door. His mother went to the door and she began tapping her fingers on the door, perhaps around the lock, but Stephan could not see exactly what his mother was doing , since he saw her almost from behind. Yes, he could see also a hand of his mother, the left, tapping on the door around and at the top of the handle, but he couldn’t see where exactly his mother was tapping the door, or in what order, or how many were the small blows she was tapping on the door. But after a while his mother was tapping her fingers on the door , the door opened, a little cracking. “ It is as if it were opened from the inside” This was the feeling that Stephan had. The first to enter that door was his grandmother, then his grandfather entered, and finally his mother, who closed the door. To enter that door all three they had to bend over, since it was not more than fifty centimeters tall.
She, Lucy, had said , indeed ordered, that when Stephan could see that door open and who entered it, he had to approach that door, whether it was open or closed , he had to go close it,
to try to understand , if not to see, at least to hear what was going on beyond that door, what did those who had entered that door did. So, when the small door closed behind his mother, Stephan, all trembling with impatience and fear too, went down the stairs and stood near the door. If he couldn’t see what was going on in the room beyond the door, he could at least hear, as Lucy had said. It goes without saying that she, Lucy, was sure that beyond that door there was a room____the room of secrets…and who knows what we can find out in there, she said with an air of mystery______while he did not think that from that door there was access to a room. Now, standing in front of the door, near it, he was hearing nothing, no voices, no noises coming from behind the door. Ah, but Lucy had recommended, indeed ordered him to stand right close the door and to put his ear on the door. Then he, even if trembling with fear more than ever, did what Lucy had ordered him to do. He put his ear pressed on ( against) the door, while he was dying of fear thinking that the door might open again at any moment , and he would not have time to escape before they___her mother and grandparents___could see him. Yet, despite the pangs of fear all over his body, Stephan managed to stay ( to resist) for a few minutes with his hear pressed on the door. Of course, he couldn’t stay there ( with his ear pressed on the door) for ten minutes as his classmate had ordered him. Even with his ear pointed to the door, attached to the door, he could not hear any noise, any voice, just as if beyond that door not only were there neither his mother, nor his grandparents, not only as if there was no one, but also if there was nothing. Yet his mother and his grandparents had entered through that door…..where had they gone?
Now Stephan should give a few knocks on that door, as Lucy had ordered him. Sure, he had to do it, but he didn’t feel like it. So he glanced his hand and stood with his fist outstretched without daring to knock on the door for a few minutes. When he, with his eyes closed, finally dared to knok on that door, an incredible sound reached him , a kind of painting snore which seemed coming from far away, from under the ground ( from a great depth). He, frightened, ran away and went back to bed. But he couldn’t sleep. After about two hours he saw his mother and grandparents coming back into the house from the main entrance. Oh, then, he said himself, that door had to enter an underground passage, which led out of the house. When he told Lucy what he had seen she was not at all discouraged by the fact that there was no a key to open that door, since it had been opened by a kind of password made of a combination of fingers taps , and that he had not been able to know the combination. “ We can always try” the implacable little girl said, more determined than ever to open that door. Lucy and Stephan, since they thought they should try and try again before they could find the right combination of fingers taps to open the door, they decided they would try their feat one day when Stephan’s mother ana parents weren’t home.
They had to wait two months before they could have a full day at their disposal to venture into their feat. Finally one Sunday in May Stephan was left alone at home. Lucy joined him and they immediately set to work. They tried all the combinations which came in their mind about those taps on the door. But in vain, the door remained closed. They were about to give up trying again when the door, which hadn’t opened when they had fingered it, all unexpectedly opened without they touching it. Amazed and enthusiastic the two children entered the door, that closed behind them. Since then Lucy and Stephan disappeared, no one knew anything more about them.