Today, I decided I would try again. I packed a lunch and made the calls. I took the day for myself and went looking. About 10 markers in I parked the car and moved off between the trees. In an hour, I was there.
I ate my sandwich on the rocks and thought over the last time - what I’d tried, what had happened. I noticed the season and the changes in the place; the color of the door so slightly lighter than I remember but probably the same. I saw the metal and the wood and the rock and the knob and the hole and the leaves. I licked my fingers and I got to work.
With my hand around the knob, I whispered to the door. I said the sorts of things that came to mind at first. I said nonsense, I found myself. Every so often, I’d hear again the whispers coming back. At first they were very quiet, a trick, wind in the trees above me, but then louder, more certainly there. I felt the warmth in the knob, the other hand across from mine. Wherever that was.
I’d been this far before. The first time. The time with the “team” (S., G., Mm., Mk.). The time early in the summer. The time with the second “team” (S., Mm., R.) and the last time; the time a week later. Which was forever ago. I’d done all this before and been rewarded.
I looked through the hole. Red. Which was different than black.
I stayed there and whispered til my throat was raw and my breath was clear before my eyes and they it wasn’t. It’d been like this the first time too, when the knob seemed to grow warmer, but, really, my body was growing colder.
I thought I heard something, late, late. I heard my voice and I realized I was not speaking. For how long my dry and useless throat had been open and silent I did not know. I heard myself, from earlier, on the other end. I heard what I thought I’d been saying hours before. To be honest, I’m not sure what I’d said when, or if I’d said it.
Through the hole there came the song and it was exactly the same as before. Someone was having a party. I heard the dishes and the music and the dulled movement and voices on the other end. And finally, finally, the voice at the door says, “do you want to come in?”
And I go in. I need to stop doing that.