One word. One word was all it had taken. Tracie knew she’d been living in fear of that one word. She had known it was on its way, a fate bound to eventually appear. Now, it had arrived, the culmination of her insightful worries, and she was left with eyes on an open door. The hinges hadn’t made a sound when he opened it. His foot hadn’t seemed heavy as it stepped over the threshold, but maybe she had observed it wrong. Maybe every inch farther away had been like a manacle around his ankle.
Two hours later…the door was still open wide. She wasn’t sure why she didn’t get up and close it on the maybe’s, on his memory, on that word. He wouldn’t come back. He was another incorrect digit in her audit; just one more instruction booklet she’d accidentally spilled coffee on. It had been inevitable, and there was no going back.
But this door was different than all the other before. She had brushed on the rusty red herself; she had polished the knobs and sanded the rough corners. This door had stood firm. It had been strong. No dents or scratches had altered its surface, despite all manners of abuse. This door had persevered.
It was the only thing that had persevered.
She blinked and was on her feet. She blinked and was across the floor. She blinked and had left the room. The red door stood behind her, open and gaping. She was gone.