05:43:43 pm on
Thursday 13 Jun 2024

Doors and Windows
AJ Robinson

Today is Election Day, but I’m not going to talk of it. I’m sure there are many pundits writing all manner of articles and essays on the subject; I don’t want to add to the noisy chorus of squealing cats. What’s the point? I have something else far more important to me.

I closed a door the other day.

It made me think of that line from The Sound of Music, where Maria leaves the convent and says that when God closes a door, somewhere He opens a window. Last Saturday I and my wife Jo Ann headed to the little apartment of our daughter Alexa.

Alexa was moving out and not merely moving, she was mooovingggg. She’s going to Massachusetts. Yeah, not just a drive across town.

She’s been working remotely for some time now, ever since COVID-19 hit our area hard; her company has now embraced remote work full throttle. As far as management is concerned, if workers are productive, they don’t care where they live.

Alexa made the decision to make the big move. She’s heading north. She’s going to the Old Homestead, so to speak and who knows where this might lead.

Alexa needed to park. She got rid of many items, donated others and threw away the rest. Her last step was the big clean up of her apartment, the loading of her rented van and departure. Jo Ann was going with her to help.

Alexa was nothing if not well organized and a planner. We took apart her bed, loaded up the van, which was hot and sweaty work, let me tell you, corralled her cats and then did the big clean up; we went room by room, checked for every item and any lingering signs of filth and then it was time.

Time to say goodbye.

We stood face to face in the kitchen and I made my love clear; it was, of course, everlasting, and no distance between us would ever diminish its strength. We hugged, long and firm, a final kiss to her forehead and I said goodbye to Jo Ann. They piled into the van and drove off and all around me was silent.

A few items still to take to the trash and I decided to wipe out the fridge. I also had the presence of mind to snap a few shots of the apartment. When Jo Ann and I moved out of the house we were renting before buying our current townhome, the landlord hit us with a massive bill for damages.

It took two letters to get landlord to back off and I regretted having not taken plenty of pictures of the place when we moved out. Well, my daughter was not going to face the same issue thank you very much! Then it was time for me to leave.

I left the key on the kitchen counter, took a last look around and headed for the front door. I flipped the lock, took a firm grip of the knob and gave the place a final look over. I pulled the door closed with a sharp snap; my heart got a hard snap, as well.

Alexa was gone. My daughter had moved on. She wasn’t merely in another town an hour or two away; she was in another state, a state several days away and, although, it gladdened my heart that she had returned to the place our  origin, no amount of joy could ease the knife-thrust to my soul.

I got in my car and drove off. My vision grew a bit blurry. Memories washed over me, as if plastered across passing billboards.

Then, something else happened. As I made turn-after-turn on the journey home, the miles clicking off and those memories stoked up joy and delight within my soul. I remembered playing Nancy Drew computer games, trips to the beach and theme parks, fun with Shakespeare, Nosey and other pets and good times with friends and family.

By the time I pulled into my driveway, pulling up next to her car, which she’d left for us to sell, I was smiling. Yes, my little girl was gone, but we’d shared some wonderful and glorious days. I knew that more lay ahead for us in the times to come

Start me up Alexa.

Now, each morning I sit at my desk and say, “Alexa, start my day.” The little Amazon gizmo sitting next to me then speaks and I manage a small smile. Yes, I get to talk to Alexa every day. It’s not my Alexa, but merely saying her name eases the ache in my heart and puts another smile on my face. Yeah, a door had closed in my past, but a window to the future lay open and I knew it would be a bright one!

Combining the gimlet-eye of Philip Roth with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Working, again, as an engineeer, after years out of the field due to 2009 recession and slow recovery, Robinson finds time to write. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true. His teen vampire adventure novel, "Vampire Vendetta," will publish in 2020. Robinson continues to write books, screenplays and teleplays and keeps hoping for that big break.

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