Point of Entry

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Continuing on the object theme, as promised here is a story about a door. Do let me know what you think.

Nearly eighty years I’ve stood here; guardian and protector of the entrance to number 86. I’ve seen many feet pass over my threshold, and I’ve had many owners. They come and go but I remain constant. I’ve been a witness to emotional goodbyes and poignant reunions. The conduit of countless comings and goings. Right now I’m a royal blue colour, that’s my personal favourite, but I’ve been other colours too: red, green, black, blue again. Whatever takes people’s fancy at the time. They like to make their mark when they move in.

I’ve seen some things I can tell you.

Like the first couple who lived here for thirty-odd years. Mr and Mrs Clough was their name.They were so proud when they bought this place- it was their first home together. He carried her, giggling over the threshold the day they moved in. Mrs Clough used to polish my brass fixtures and wash down the step on a weekly basis. That was the thing to do back then. Nobody has washed my step in years now. I saw their children too. They grew up and left. Little Harry would stand for hours looking through my letterbox. He would open and close his little window to the world; fat fingers probing my recesses ever so gently, before slamming it shut whenever someone came up the path. He liked to feel the breeze on his face. I like to think he felt safe behind me; shielded from the dangers of the outside world.

Like Miss Hargreaves. She bought me and the house with her inheritance. She took good care of me too. She had me painted a beautiful forest green and would adorn me with a wreath of holly at Christmas. I do like to look my best at Christmas. Mr Clough used to hang mistletoe. Miss Hargreaves didn’t have much in the way of family; just a succession of small dogs who would dart about in the hallway, their little claws clicking on the tiles. Jumping up and scratching at me whenever anyone rang my bell. That King Charles spaniel, he was the worst for that. I don’t know where she went when she sold this house but I was glad to be rid of those dogs. Once I slammed shut on one of their tails- that tickled me. I blamed the wind.

Like all those students who came and went at all hours of the day and night during the eighties and nineties. Shouting through my letterbox like the drunken idiots they were when they were locked out. Fumbling around with their keys in the dark, trying desperately to gain entry. Of course I didn’t make it easy for them; my favourite trick was to wait until they were leaning against me in a semi-conscious state, and then swing open sending them sprawling and cursing. Ha! Once one even passed out in the hallway, his feet hanging over the step, and left me open all night. Those were the times I longed for a nice respectable family again.

This area has gone downhill in recent years. The type of tenants I see now would make Mrs Clough turn in her grave. I’m one of the few remaining original doors on this street and proud of it. I know its probably only a matter of time before the landlord decides to replace me with something cheap and made of UPVC; easier to maintain and more suited to modern tastes. My days are probably numbered, but I think I’ve done my job pretty well, all things considered.

The current chap who lives here is very quiet. I hardly see him at all in fact. When he does go out he must use the back door; I know I’ve not been opened in weeks. It’s not good really, I like to stretch my hinges and get some exercise. It feels like I’m not doing my job properly. Strange men come and go at night with packages. Back and forth through the shared gennel that leads to the yards out back. He doesn’t even answer if someone comes knocking in the daytime, even though I know he’s in. I don’t know why he needs a house like this all to himself. Maybe he’s waiting for his family to join him. Maybe he’s just very shy. I wonder..

Oh, there’s a couple of blokes standing here now; what time do they think it is? Hang on, these aren’t his usual visitors. And there are more of them coming out of that van down the road, all in black the same, slinking across the road like spiders. How long has that been parked there? I didn’t even notice them arriving, must have been totally lost in my own world. Something doesn’t feel right to me.What’s that he’s got there now?

A flash of red and he hits me full force in my middle with something hard, metallic. Again, and the force of the impact shakes my fittings; I can feel the wood splintering and my grip loosening. He’s going to have me off my hinges in a matter of moments. Well, this is it, there’s no point in prolonging the agony. I brace myself for the blow, relinquish my grip and let them in. My job here is done.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/21532476@N00/3432362102″>Terraced houses</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

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8 thoughts on “Point of Entry

  1. Hi Rebecca. Some really nice touches in this one. The original owners of the house washing the front step was a good reminder of a lost time and the “tricks” the door played on the dogs and on the drunk students made me smile (you had some nice touches like that in The Toaster I recall!). There are one or two places I would maybe look at another edit – such as using the word “threshold” twice, and some sentences could be chopped a little and still achieve what you want – for example “Mr and Mrs Clough was their name” could easily lose the “was their name” in my opinion. None of this is major and I hope you don’t mind me making suggestions or giving you some things to ponder!

    In answer to your specific question regarding the ending I thought it was very clear – making the assumption that I’ve got it right of course! To me it showed that the final tenant was possibly a drug dealer and the ending was the police storming the property. I guess even if the tenant was something different in your mind and it’s a SWAT team rather than the police it doesn’t matter!

    Cheers, Nik

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  2. Thanks Nik, always glad to have your suggestions. Its comforting to note that I also had been thinking about the repeat of the word threshold but couldn’t think what else to replace it with.
    Glad the ending was clear, that is exactly what I was thinking of. An incident like that actually occurred in a house I lived next door to in the past so it was based on personal experience! Originally I tried to put in some conversation from the police at the door but it didn’t sound right so hopefully it works better as it is. Thanks for reading as always 🙂

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    1. Yeah – it’s difficult to put a conversation like that in without it feeling like you’re forcing it. Seems that your instincts served you well on this one. Look forward to the next in your series of inanimate object adventures! 🙂

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      1. I really wasn’t planning on it becoming a series..! Sometimes they do come easier though. I’m still thinking about that post you did in the second person and whether I could do something in that tense, a tricky one, don’t expect anything soon!

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        1. If you ever work out a way that you can predict what you’re going to write then please let me know! I’m not sure I’d ever revisit second person future but it was a lot of fun and that’s the way to treat it. Will look forward to whatever comes next from your virtual pen.

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  3. I really like the idea of the history of a street or area being told through an object like a door. The door had different functions for different people, and had a personality of its own. This was very well done. I guessed that the latest owner was some kind of dodgy character and that the poor old door was smashed in a police raid. I liked the way you told the story of the street’s decline from respectability in this way.

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