Love is an open door.
Then we had to figure out a dinner plan. There were heavy and stuffy and Italian meals all calling our names – and it turns out – one of those very places fed Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers before the show, but chances are that we wouldn’t have seen them. We quickly found an open door – at an organic market with tables and chairs and friendly employees everywhere. Over kale and chicken salads and water, we talked about the email I had just gotten in the Ridgefield Playhouse’s parking lot. I was being sent to Bakersfield, California for work.
I had worried about how I’d wait for the Hornsby show. I’m not inherently patient. I saw myself pacing to get out nervous jitters. I didn’t think I’d be able to eat. Instead we ate organic chicken and kale salad for an hour and started fleshing out a plan that seemed more real by the second. He’d come with me. Who would take the kids? The pets? In what direction would we drive the Pacific Coast Highway? Answer: all ways. This door opened, and with it came a California breeze.
Back on track to another open door. The venue was opening and the rain had lightened. It was a small playhouse and we were some of the first people there. I swear I had seven times more trouble finding parking and getting into the local high school production of Grease last month. I cannot find the words to tell you what this was like, but I can try. It did eventually fill up, quite a bit, but that hour before showtime. This world and this open door belonged to Cassidy and me.
Here’s how I explain that open door in the rain. Bruce Hornsby is my end-all. I know that people love him. Gosh, I know that people really love him, but this was so easy. An open door. No crowds or lines around the block. You’d never know we were going to see my absolute favorite singer in the world. If I happened to have a favorite singer who sold out Fenway Park shows and that was the only way to see him or her, that’s what I’d do. It wouldn’t be easy, but I would go. Bruce Hornsby is my favorite musician on earth. I can’t listen to him without breathless tears. He is magic to me. And this was my open door. I’d be crazy not to run through it with open arms.
Who knew it could be that easy for the end-all? A tiny parking lot and a tiny old theater and an open door. Close enough to throw spitballs at him. I never would, though. Instead I wrote my request on a cocktail napkin and my heart leaped out of my throat when he played my request (shown below). When that door opened, I can’t even say it was 100% pleasant. It was like an out of body experience. It was disorienting and weird and wonderful. Cold, rainy, unseasonably winter-like. He read my scrawled, inquisitive handwriting and he liked what I had to request.
In San Francisco, a decade ago, we had lived on the second floor of a three floor, six apartment house. We were the middle back apartment and had a deck with a staircase that led down to a garden full of tropical delights. We shared that garden with the first floor back apartment.
I’m going to let you in on a secret that’s safe to tell you now. We left our back door open or unlocked about 99% of the time. In the middle of a major city. The back deck was paradise. It was locked in the sun and would almost always be 10-20 degrees warmer than the actual city. Foggy days were still foggy days…but oh, that sun. On the occasional warm night, we’d leave the back door open into the night sky all night long. On cool nights, we’d close it around bedtime.
The people who lived below us at the end were strange people. I think they did well for themselves at whatever work-at-home thing they did but they were pretty much on another planet from me. One day I was sitting on the couch with our husky, Stormy, enjoying a foggy breeze through the open door, when an adorable, lively, wiggly Golden Retriever puppy bounded through our open door and onto my lap. I was pleasantly surprised and Stormy was unpleasantly surprised. It’s like money growing on trees, and men raining from the sky. If you leave your back door open, a ridiculously adorable puppy will jump into your arms. Just like that!
Eventually they called for her and she bounded back down the deck stairs. I’m not proud to admit this but I used to leave the back door open on purpose and wish for her to run in. I think it was a little bit of a hassle for Stormy and Cassidy but I loved it. I’d play with her for up to 20 minutes sometimes until they remembered. I’d hear them calling for her and I’d fake surprise and yell, “Oh!” and they’d know that she was in our apartment. I’d pretend she had just run in. Then they’d shuffle up the deck stairs and mumble an apology and I’d give her back and pretend I wasn’t absolutely delighted to have played with this fluffy, wriggling mass of love.
Around that time, a friend of Cassidy’s was visiting from Canada. I came into the living room to find her calmly playing with the puppy as if it was totally normal and expected. No cry of surprise. She didn’t say anything aloud about a puppy jumping through an open door into her arms. I remember thinking it was strange that she didn’t react much to the situation – she acted like it was totally natural for random puppies to bound into your home and into your arms. I couldn’t understand then but I get it now. Now, I want to be the type of person who isn’t surprised to find puppies running into my open door and into my arms and into my heart.
The neighbors left around when we did. The new inhabitants let us come look at the garden when we visited San Francisco both in 2009 and in 2010. They turned it into a lovely oasis.
I’m linking up with Finish The Sentence Friday for another great prompt. This week’s topic is “Open Door” (photo prompt or use your own) And there’s still time to write yours. Link up HERE.