The Thing Behind The Door

I awoke a little while ago from one of those dreams.   You know, the kind where you’re you’re not sure it is a dream, and once you finally awake still dazed wonder if maybe some elements to it are not real.  This entry isn’t about the dream, though.  I don’t blog about dreams on here. I have a whole separate blog I don’t update anymore for that!  This entry is about the truth behind the dream.

For the first time in my life I realized something: I am afraid of open doors.

Or more accurately (but less powerfully), I am unsettled by the darkness behind an open door at night, if trying to sleep. I’ve known for years, on some level, that I prefer to sleep with a closed door…  I’ve just never thought about it, or tried to understand it.

There’s something just…  unsettling.  I know there’s nothing there…  Well, no I don’t “know” that, but I imagine there isn’t.  It’s not about that, though…  It’s the perceptions one gets when one stares into blackness.   It’s almost like the eyes are trying to see something there, and threaten to invent form where there is none, for the sake of form itself.  It’s not the darkness, though…  I’m not afraid of the dark.   I’m afraid of what’s in the darkness… in the next room… on the other side of that dreadfully unprotective open door.

I was saying, “I can’t see it…  I can’t see it…”, laying in bed and looking into that void behind the open door.  Something started to take shape then… Something bright… something yellow…  Something just a bit too ethereal to grasp.  What could be grasped, though, was a feeling of fear, and denial, and a desire to be safe behind the closed door. And then…  I awoke, and looked in the same direction I was looking in my dream.  The door was closed. But the usual subtle sense of security I feel when seeing that closed door was gone, shattered by an unsettling reality. That feeling’s been replaced by an awareness…  Maybe an unwelcomed one.  That closed door now represents something else to me. It’s a mystery, it’s a puzzle…  It’s a disturbance. Being unsettled by an open door, and waking up with the words “I can’t see it”, are more disturbing to me, than the previous uneasiness ever could have been.

As I laid in bed, I recognized “I can’t see it” as a denyer, and realized that my entire life (as much as I remember), I have always slept with a closed door, and have never been comfortable leaving it open, even if (or perhaps especially if) nobody else was in the house.  For years, whenever I would be laying in bed and attempting to sleep with the door open, I’d find myself nervously glaring into that darkness.  “There’s nothing there”, I’d assure myself, recognizing that feeling of anxiety.  I’d find it an annoyance.  “There’s nothing there”, I’d repeat, but just not feel entirely safe closing my eyes, at the same time.  Within a few minutes, I’d drag myself out of bed and close that door, feeling annoyed at myself, or better, suddenly realize there was an urgent need for me to leave the room for one reason or another  When I’d get back a minute later, I’d remember to close the door on my way in.

The thing is, I’ve just dealt with that.  I’ve dealt with it, because that’s the rational thing to do, and the sane thing to do is just not to even acknowledge it while you’re dealing with it.  I knew, after all, that there really was “nothing there”. Why don’t I “know” that now?  Why do I feel so certain that there is something behind that door?

Amanda made an observation to me, several weeks ago.  I had taken to reacting panicked when awoken unexpectedly. It wasn’t always anything too dramatic.  I think most people would understand being a bit startled if jolted into a fuller consciousness from sleep.  But… Well, a few times it was more than just being a bit started…  She realized it was the sound of the door creaking open that would really get a reaction out of me.  Talking was fine…  As fine as being woken up could be (I’d be a little annoyed, but not startled), the TV being too loud, the misc. banging around pots and pans… That wasn’t a problem. The only thing that seemed to really put me into a panic for a second or two, was the sound of the door opening.

I really hadn’t given it much thought.  Sure, I thought it was odd…  But I also didn’t think much of it, at the same time.  Now, I find myself wondering about the thing behind the door…  The thing that creeps in on you, while your asleep, the creaking door, the movement in the blackness… Really, there’s nothing there.


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