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The Door

The Door

Photo by Amber Petty

There it was. The door. Standing far too proud in all of its artichoke-colored glory.

My first impressions of that door were distant from great and it was the fourth front door I found myself in front of since my parent’s divorce. Standing there, bags by my side, I knew this process well. I was aware of the work and time moving in required and knew, as my shadow on the front porch grew taller, that I would already be hard-pressed to have a bed made by night. Yet, something kept my feet pressed to the sidewalk, there was something just slightly peculiar about that door that made my eyes linger.

It wasn’t that the door was remarkable by any means, that’s for sure. In fact, there must have been a half dozen of them on my street alone. It was beige-green, and not in an attractive sage kind of way; there were no windows, unless one counts the small peephole four-fifths up the center length, and overall it wasn’t very pleasing to the eye. Maybe it was intuition or maybe it was the builder’s profoundly confusing color choice, I still don’t know. But, that door; the door that held my attention for just long enough to stand out as strange, would become the very image my mind now associates with home, my childhood, and a long-winded road to self-discovery.

I came to love that home. Having moved in right at the end of my brain’s preoperational developmental stage, the majority of my memories and early parts of my self-identity stem from within those walls. It’s where my personality, friends, and passions grew. I found myself drawn to design, which became one of the first personality traits family members still associate with my name: creativity.

Art, crafts, photography, etc; I was enthralled with it all. My early life became filled with projects: life-sized board games with a lamp shade for a die, a full-scale basketball arcade made entirely out of cardboard, an arsenal of realistic katanas made out of paper and jumbo popsicle sticks. I even spent a summer confident my calling was to be a film director. I wrote and filmed over a dozen short films, with the neighborhood kids enlisted as actors. To this day “Buff Academy” and “The Life of a Ninja” still remain family classics. Art quickly became the one thing I felt some level of aptitude in.

So the years went on, I grew, so did my art; so did the things around me. One by one stuff began to change; new countertops, different backsplash, the carpet, tiles, etc. But so what? My mom enjoyed renovations, there wasn’t much to think of it all. Then one-day things really changed and a memory now sits cemented in my mind. The walk from the bus had felt unusually long and the sun’s heat stung my skin in a way that made me eager to get home, and it wasn’t until I rounded the corner that I saw it: a door I no longer recognized. It was the potent smell of paint that hit me first and the wood, once unsightly and ruggedly green, now stood Royal Blue; less than a month later we were gone.

Things began to change then for me too. Most of my friends moved and I lost my way for a bit, unsure how to spend my time. The same was true for my electives. I mean I had always liked art, but that’s all it was, art. I coasted from elective to elective, trying out different things. In junior high, I was an actor and a chef, in high school an engineer. And though, to some degree, I enjoyed all of the classes, none sparked a real passion in me. It wasn’t until my junior year that I enrolled in art for the first time in over five years. And that’s how I found it once again. The green door had reappeared, this time with the words “Art Room” beside it.

Perhaps I had just never paid enough attention before or maybe the doors in the fine arts hall looked different from the rest, but there it was. The very door that represented my childhood and a part of myself. It was a slightly warmer hue than before and the small peep hole of a window was enlarged and rectangular, but nonetheless it was unmistakably green and unmistakably unattractive. Reaching forwards, without hesitation, I reopened the door.


Amber Petty is the first round winner of our weekly writing competition. He wins $150 AUD and publication in the archipelago


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