Monster’s Coffin

6 March 2020 in Heather, Writing

When I was half as high as the door between the kitchen and the garage, I caught a fever for the world between the real and the imaginary. Each side of the threshold was familiar: On one side, in the kitchen, everything was clean and tidy, matching and spotless, useful and practical. ’Twas the pride of an A+ homemaker. On the other side was the original garage, poorly lit from one small eastern-facing window, everything shadow and suspect, grime and dirt, mysterious and unknown.

I hovered on the threshold, comforted by the orderly precision of my mother’s kitchen but attracted to the objects in the garage that could be whatever I told them to be. The woodpile, the deep freeze, the wicker laundry basket full of dirty rags. I imagined them otherwise: A forest of splinter people, a monster’s coffin, the collected cotton storm clouds of one gloomy Saturday. In the corner towered a custom cabinet of small drawers, each containing bits of hardware or some handy tool. After mentally pulling out the small drawers, each staggered just so, I clambered up the staircase to the princess’s bedroom.

I hovered on the threshold, bracing against indecision, two feet and two palms pressed against the doorjambs. Splitting worlds through superpowers, I wondered which way I would fall. At some point my mother would scold, “Quit standing there with the door open!” before nudging me out into the garage. She knew what was best for me.

My dad used more colorful language, “Shit or get off the pot!” He, too, would boot me into the garage, gently, with his unlaced Red Wing.

There I’d prowl, murmuring to myself like a madwoman, “I’m off the pot now! Off the pot! Off the pot!” Where to begin? Host a dance party on the monster’s coffin? Embark on an epic journey through the splinter forest? Or peer out the eastern window with my best forlorn face, curious if anyone on the other side might see me and think I was a ghost.

from 7 March 2019