The Door Upstairs

“That night, I remember, it was chilled. I walked barefoot through the living room, trying so hard as to not make any noise; you know how cold that terracotta floor can get.
I crept into Mama ́s room and I saw the empty bottle on her bedside table. I knew right then that nothing would wake her up, but I was terrified anyway. Can you imagine it? I kept looking at her closed eyes all the time until I took the key from the drawer and went back to my room.

Do you remember the Konica grandpa gave me for my birthday? Well, I took a picture of the key with that camera. I had to wait like a week, to get the photo roll developed from the shop. My God, we are old, aren ́t we? Anyway, once I had the paper photo of the key, I cut it out and I used it as a template to cut a tin key, using one of your baby porridge’s can, do you remember them? Of course not. Don’t laugh, but I just wanted to get daddy’s comic book collection before the moving. And you sure remember how Mama always hid everything upstairs, nothing ever went to waste…
Well, I went upstairs, I put the tin key inside the lock and as I was about to turn it, I heard a noise! Inside! Honestly to God. I did. I wait, and then I tried to turn the key again, and another noise! Inside! I got scared, what do you want me to say? I thought Mama was there looking for something and you know how she was when we even thought of going up there… So, I put the key back to my pocket, went back to the kitchen and there she was, Mama was with you in the kitchen. I was probably scared and that made me hear things. I wasn’t a brave boy, was I? The very next morning we moved to Madrid and I never got the comics back.”

“Why are you telling me this now? She asked.

I looked at my sister tenderly. Her eyes were still watery. It had been a tense day.

“Come on, it’s been thirty years!” I said excitedly, “Can you imagine the treasures that might be there? Inside?

“We just buried Mama, I’m knackered. Can’t you do it without me? It’s late, I just want to go home.”

Picture by Karlos Wayne

My sister looked at me waiting for an answer. Slowly, the first smile of the day started to appear on her face and then she laughed. How well she knew me. I was scared, obviously. It didn’t matter if I was thirteen or forty-seven. I was afraid to open that door into the past. My father’s stuff was there. Still smiling, she sighed with resignation. Slowly, we climbed up the stairs to the only room on the third floor. We passed Mama’s bedroom; her bed still unmade, with no indications that she passed away just two days before, except perhaps for the patient murderer, still half empty, on the bed side table. We got to the door. The fact that it looked smaller than I remembered, made me feel safer. My sister looked at her phone impatiently. I turned the key and the lock released the door. We looked at each other like we were kids again.
The door, closed for more than three decades, gently opened without needing to be pushed. With my trembling hand, I reached out to the light switch which, of course, didn’t work. My sister took the phone out again and she lighted up the torch app, giving no chance to the room to keep its secrets from us anymore. Before our eyes got used to the new light, two mannequins in the back, sitting in chairs, back to back, welcomed us like a fashion store window. My childhood fears gave way to my adult restlessness. As we got closer, my sister’s scream didn’t bother the old bones tied to the chairs, forever in love. But it released the sorrow I carried my whole life of having believed being abandoned by my father.