Image: My mother Helen in doorway

CW: Death, addiction

‘We protect ourselves, we barricade ourselves in. Doors stop and separate.’ – Georges Perec

1. We all have doors in our lives, whether we own them or not, some feel more like ours than others. I think we’ve all thought a lot more about other peoples touch lingering on doors lately, with Covid spreading. I’ve always tried to push parts of doors that other people weren’t pushing, but I suppose that’s more of a distanced intimacy thing, rather than a germs thing. It’s rare that I hold hands with anyone, sometimes holding a door handle is like holding someones hand. I’ve felt the same way about light switches and remember feeling jealous of my mother’s light switch, because she touched it daily, more than she ever touched me.

Her front door changed as her addictions grew. It used to be open more, until it was smashed in and hard to get to. A few years before her death, the garden gate had a bulk of padlocks, maybe out of paranoia, maybe out of a need to feel safe, because the world she mixed in was a dark one, too dark for her somewhat naive and bohemian ways. She used to let everyone in, then she did all she could to keep people out, unless they were like her, a part of this other world, where people wanted to be anywhere else but where they were. I wish I kept her front door after her death, I wish I kept the things that she touched, the things that kept her protected and safe. I wish I kept her front door, the door she entered into in Greenwich as she fled Northern Ireland as a young woman in the 70s. The door that kept me out of her life. The door I saw her body being taken out of in a body bag. 

More door talk soon.

Take care of yourselves,

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