Weekly Writing Challenge: Through Sarah’s Door

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The door to your house/flat/apartment/abode has come unstuck in time.  The next time you walk through it, you fixed yourself in the same place, but a different time entirely.  Where are you, and what happens next?

Sarah slowly pushed 52 copies of the front door key across the kitchen table.

So which one was the original key to the front door of my new house?  I took the keys and stuffed them into the front pockets of my jeans.

“Do all of them work?” I asked her.

She shrugged.  Just like everything in her life, she didn’t seem to care.

I looked at Sarah, but her face was already a blank.  Gut feeling told me that I already knew her story.  In my past, I had lived like Sarah.  Those keys represented the coming and going of a man that she refused to cut ties with.

Once Sarah moved out, I knew I needed to change all the locks.  Safety and security was always important to me, and I didn’t want her abuser coming to my new house.  The house that I had bought from Sarah was so full of promise.  I already had someone to share it with, and we were both determined to turn this house into our home.

After escrow closed, Sarah was brutally murdered by her ex-husband.  Even with her new house and a new job, she could not leave him.

I knew her game from the beginning.  Didn’t she just sell me a house with 52 identical keys to the front door?  Not only that, she had no information to the two alarm systems that she had installed in the hallway.  I had tried to turn them on, but it looked like Sarah had them permanently turned off.

Not being able to lock the front door, turn on the alarm systems or leave an abusive relationship had cost Sarah her life.  When her photograph and story received media coverage, I noticed the familiar face of the unhappy woman who pretended to have it all.  A follow-up article told of the trial and her ex-husband being sentenced to a prison in Central California for the rest of his life.

When you live in a house and make it your home, you are actually building good and bad memories.  And these memories usually stay a part of you until you die.  At least, that’s how I’ve felt about the houses that I had owned in the past.

Sarah gave me the 52 keys to the front door over 13 years ago, and that was the only link that she had to our home.  Once I destroyed those keys, we began replacing locks so that we could move in and feel safe.  With this major change, Sarah was out of the picture.  She no longer had ties to the house.  Like those keys, she is part of the past history of our home.

As a homeowner, I encourage other homeowners not to drive by their former homes.  When ownership changes, so does the house.  Sometimes, it can be as simple as changing the color of the house or changing the style of the front door.

Since the beginning, we have been happy in our home.  And that was something that Sarah was never able to accomplish–starting with the front door.

6 comments

  1. Pingback: Prospect Avenue | Catching Happy
  2. Arlene Poma · May 7, 2013

    “Prospect Avenue” reminds me of all the hopes and dreams that come with having a home.

  3. greenmackenzie · May 8, 2013

    Wow…is this truth or fiction? It feels so crisp and real…yet it’s such a sad tale I kind of hope you invented it 🙂

  4. Arlene Poma · May 8, 2013

    Thank you so much for the compliment! It’s all true. Down to the 52 keys that Sarah had left me when she sold the house to me. Since I am retired and spend a lot of waking hours alone, I do think about her at times. Houses (homes) represent a lot of things to their owners. When we first moved in, we were spending all of our time completing the projects that were started by the former owners–but never finished. It was a pattern that Sarah lived by, but each time we finished a project, the house became closer to being our home. In real life, Sarah existed for an abusive ex-husband, and I have always sensed that she was never happy here. Otherwise, I’d probably be dealing with her ghost right now!

  5. Pingback: {Weekly Writing Challenge} Their future, through the door… | 3rdculturechildren
  6. Pingback: Writing Challenge: Through the door – Would you? | Comfortably Numb

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