Perhaps it was a dream, she thought. Perhaps if she pinched herself, she would wake up. But she didn’t want to wake up. She wanted to stay in this dream where he was…
She looked around her and all she saw were doors. There was a familiar metal one in front of her, a daunting red one behind her, a mysterious green one to the left of her, and brilliantly bright blue one to the right of her. She could hear the faint sound of a piano playing through the metal door, she took a step closer feeling the sense of comfort this door and room provided her so many years ago, realizing now why this door looked and felt so familiar. She looked through the glass mesh window in the door and saw her high-school band-room and there sitting at the piano, she could see him clearly, slightly rocking back and forth to the melody he was creating, as he glided his hands over the keys. The music then became muffled and distant, slowly becoming quieter as if it was moving farther and farther away from her. Feeling the desperate need to be close to him she reached for the handle, afraid that too would fade away, when…
BANG!!! A loud thud sounded from behind her. She spun to face the red door, watching it now as it creaked open, sounds and voices slipping through the crack. Then as if a gust of wind came through, the door slammed wide open, filling the small corridor where she stood with the sounds of crying and yelling.
“You’re worthless! A selfish Bitch!” A male’s voice screamed at the top of his lungs. She stepped closer trying to see into the dark room… “Everything is all your fault! You’re broken!” This man’s words cut deep into her as if it was she who was being yelled at. She strained to see inside the room but didn’t dare cross the threshold.
And then her own voice echoed from within, filling the corridor with sorrow and pain. “How could you say that to me? You promised to protect me… To love me… All you’re doing is killing me inside…” The words, her words, were barely audible in between uncontrollable sobbing.
The figures now became clear beyond the red door. It was herself on her knees, arms clutched tight around her chest rocking back and forth trying desperately to catch her breath. Her husband standing over her yelling at the top of his lungs, hatred radiating from his eyes.
Standing outside the door she felt herself fall to her knees, like the figure within, remembering vaguely the feelings of hopelessness, emptiness, and despair. The same feelings she had felt in this very moment as she watched the man she thought she loved stand over her yelling unending, veins popping on his forehead and neck as he took off his wedding ring and chucked it as hard as he could at the crumbled shell of a person on the dining room floor.
Feeling that sharp pain on her forehead once again she snapped out of it, she reached up grabbing the handle of the red door and pulled with everything she had, slamming it shut, silencing the figures within. She only then realized the warmth of the tears flowing freely from her eyes as she sat on the floor feeling as hopeless and broken as she did in that very moment in the dining room of her old apartment.
Stop it! she thought… He can’t hurt me anymore… Wiping the tears with the sleeves of her sweater, she turned her head to look at the gray metal band room door, remembering all the happiness it brought her and how safe she felt when she was on the other side of it. Making a pathetic pass at the door she crawled towards it reaching for the handle, feeling the cold metal under her fingertips as she attempted to pull herself up. She felt the cold metal slip through her fingers as she instead fell to the floor. A desperate anxiety consumed her as she reached once more for the handle feeling as if it too like the music was fading further and further away…
All she wanted was to see him again. To see his smile, to hear his voice, to hear his music… After all he was truly the man she wanted to marry, but he had broken her heart too many times, too many years ago. She just needed to see him… Just once… One last time….
Feeling a return of desperate motivation, she outstretched her hand gripping the handle tightly pulling it towards her before pushing the door open just an inch. The music of Cristofori’s Dream filled the tiny corridor drowning out the last remnants of yelling from the red door. She sat, leaning up against the door frame just listening, feeling the tears of brokenness turn to tears of forgotten joy on her cheeks. Then all the sudden the music stopped, she watched as he sat at the piano, hands in his lap, as if he was debating on whether or not he was going to look her way. He glanced towards her, just for a brief second, and whispered something to her before he turned back to the piano packing his sheet music in his bag as he prepared to leave.
Feeling a panic, she opened her mouth to call to him, but no sound left her lips. She tried to get up to chase after him as he left through the back door of the band room, but she couldn’t find the strength to hold herself up. Thinking back to the moment he whispered to her, she tried to make out what he had said. Her heart dropped as his words became clear.
“I love you…”
She knew now that this wasn’t real, as much as she wanted it to be, to believe it was true when she knew it wasn’t. He would always hold her heart, but she knew he did not feel the same, that’s why she left all those years ago….
She pulled herself up feeling a renewed strength, wiping away the tears of a lost love from her eyes. She stepped back from the door closing it, looking now to the green and blue doors to her left and right. She knew that her time here in this corridor was ending and she needed to choose. The green door felt mysteriously ominous to her, she felt, if she went through this door she wouldn’t move forward with her life, but backwards, continuing to fall into the wrong situations, making all the wrong decisions. She knew what she had to do, without a second glance at the band door or the red door she reached for the gold handle of the blue. She turned it and opened it to reveal a beautiful sunlit meadow. She took one step with her right foot stepping through the threshold leaving her left foot planted solidly in the corridor, pausing for just a second, knowing that if she left this tiny corridor, she would be leaving him behind, but she felt as if it was time. She, needing so much more than just to move on, she needed to find herself and she knew that going through this door was the only way to do it. She lifted her left foot and just like that the corridor and all the doors behind her vanished. She stood engulfing herself in the warm golden light…
She felt a weight lift from her and for the first time in a very long time she took a long deep breath, inhaling the clean fresh air of freedom.