John Branseum


An Account of the Door

     The Door began to appear seven months ago. Usually right next to the bathroom. The first time I went through, I found myself in my old apartment. It had to be mine. There were my bluejeans draped over the computer. Of course, I didn’t recognize the Ralph Nader poster on the wall. Nor could I explain the parakeet.

     I fled.

     It was during my second trip through the door that I discovered the nefarious pattern behind its appearances. I walked into a kitchen. I recognized the knitted potholders hanging above the stove. It was an ex-girlfriend’s house. Amy wasn’t there. But her parents were.

     “Steven, sit down.”

     They asked me about my thoughts on the upcoming election, and about what I’d like for dinner. I tried to tell them about my life now, my work, my friends. Nothing I said dispelled their illusion that I belonged there. Nor did they ask me to explain my presence - that was the worst part. That my visit was treated as perfectly natural; as if there was no violation of physics or nature in my being there. As if they’d forgotten what I’d done to Amy.

     Some of those I meet are hardly even acquaintances. That fat elderly lady - I cursed her under my breath because she drove so slowly. She waits for me on a ratty, tweed couch. Patting my knee, she offers me bread pudding. I find Kevin Chappell whom I betrayed for popularity when I was twelve. He waves me over to play darts in a basement gameroom and thrusts a bowl of popcorn toward me.

     Each time I come into their rooms, they sit down with me as if I’ve always lived there and then, the bastards, then they offer me food.