The door un-knocked
It was a door that once opened to a lifetime of happy memories but that is now closed, permanently. At least for me.
I was 10 years old when I first knocked on that door. If I had known just how momentous that knock would be or that I would one day earn my living as a writer, I might’ve made a note of the date. But I didn’t.
I had been invited to the house of a school friend for what is now known as a “play date”. Neither myself nor my friend had any inkling that we would ultimately become inseparable best friends; that my first step over that threshold would be the first of thousands; that this would one day be the entrance to my home away from home.
I visited that front door so many times, I could find it in the dark, which would prove useful many years later when the two of us would return from a nearby pub giggling wildly and barely able to stand.
There is rough concrete path that declines slightly. To the left is a large garage door. The short path has a slight right turn and passes a hedge that for years was trimmed into the shape of a peacock, and on up to that front door.
I walked down that path dozens of times as a child. I knocked upon that door thousands of times as a teenager and as an adult. On more than one occasion, I “rode” the peacock-shaped hedge (although my friend’s father only caught me once. Once was enough).
My friend would proudly proclaim his Scottish heritage at any opportunity, even though he had been born and raised in London. But his father was the real deal — A card-carrying, kilt-wearing, haggis-eating Scot. I was once invited for dinner to celebrate Burns Night. I decided to wear a kilt; not in a respectful way, but in an Axl Rose, t-shirt, Dr Martens and kilt way.
I knocked, as usual. My friend’s father opened the door, looked me up and down, paused just long enough to roll his eyes before slamming the door in my face. He did eventually see the funny side and, thankfully, I still got my haggis.
I knocked at that door on the day we helped my friend’s dad dig a pond in the back garden. I knocked again on the day his sister got married as the pair of us were unwisely given the job of usher. I knocked on…