It’s Saturday night. My job is Door Holder. This is because the fire department took all the doorstops off. So. Holding the Door. Ok, doesn’t seem too hard. Not too physically demanding. I experiment with a few different door-holding postures. I stick my right foot out and configure the rest of my body in a sort of sentinel position. I lean my whole weight on the door, hands clasped in front. Then hands clasped in back, cushioning myself against its sharp corner. Maybe leaning on the door looks too slack, not attentive enough. I try moving to the side and using just my arm to hold it, trying to look inviting. Discovery number one of the evening: there are a lot of ways to hold a door.

Hold the door hold the door hold the door. I think I’m doing a good job at it. I’m getting quite acquainted with this door, actually. I run my fingernails into the grain of its wood, I sway back and forth a bit to hear the squeaks that the push bar makes. I rest my head against it. No, that’s definitely not a good posture. I try staying completely still and not shifting so much. That’s no good either. I look a bit bored. 

Now an audience member wants programs – oh no. That means I have to leave the door and grab some for them from the desk. I’ve gotten kind of attached to the door by now. It needs me in order to stay open; how could I abandon it? As I move away to help them, it begins to swing closed. The door is unlocked, for goodness’ sake, I remind myself, feeling a bit silly for how sad leaving it makes me.

Someone else has gotten them their programs, phew. I catch the door right before it shuts.

Another reason I don’t want to abandon my post: I have a good vantage point from here. This is a central door, and everyone passes by as they make their way to their seats. I keep a smile plastered to my face and keep holding the door, but I’ve forgotten about the presence of it. We’re friends now, door and me. We’re familiar with each other’s shape. Now, I can watch people. I watch parents dragging their kids to mooorre classical music (and a few kids dragging parents). I make note of everyone’s umbrellas as they pile them against the wall, watch the puddles they’re making on the carpet start to dry, and think about how I’ve never stayed in one place long enough to see water drying. My mind starts wandering down door-holding fantasies, imagining what I would see holding the door to my dorm building open, the door to my class, the door to the coffee shop. I could make a project of it, I could write a door-holding novel, I could –

My thoughts are interrupted by the five minute warning. People keep filing past. Some make eye contact as they go through my door. Most don’t. Some say thank you, obviously impressed by my painless and effortless door-holding abilities. As they do this, I remember my coveted position as “door holder” from elementary school, the long train of “thank you thank you thank you thank you” I received as the class filed past. Coveted, because I’d end up at the back of the line, the farthest away from the teacher. It was a serious offense to not say thank you to the door holder, reserved for when you were really mad at someone.

And now I’m thinking about who designed the door. It’s pretty. It has a nice stained glass window; solid, thick, wooden frame. The myth is that Richardson was designed by a student for his architecture thesis but was flunked. He later said he’d donate the money to build the auditorium only if his design was used. It’s just a myth, but still. Funny to think that with enough cash, you too can get back at everyone who didn’t like your weird designs.

Hold the door hold the door hold the do – 

Ok, places, the call comes. And then the hall is empty, and they want me to lock the door. Reluctantly, I do.

“Do you want to take a break, Talia? We have a while before intermission.” 

“No, I’m ok,” I answer.

I stay right by my door, just in case.

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