I used to think the drama was all on this side of the three doors, but as the tale unfolds I begin to appreciate how startled the princess or the tiger might be, when the door swings open, to confront the condemned man standing in the hallway of the apartment building at lunchtime. Improbably, my secret girlfriend lives behind the left, my darling widowed meddlesome mother behind the middle, and behind the rightmost of these doors at the end of the hall, my boss and sometime business partner, who doesn’t know either. Only I know who’s behind each door and that they all know me. I ring three bells. I hear three bodies stir. Three sets of footsteps crunch the carpet padding, three latches unlatch, doors swing open, faces emerge. Three voices speak my name with exclamation points! I name them back in turn. I kiss, hug, shake hands, and wait to see how fate will interact. Meet the girlfriend I don’t bring to family functions! Meet my mother, who wants me to marry the girl who comes to brunches! Meet my boss, who put me in charge of Dad’s retirement and cost Mom her house in the process! Ordinarily, I’d try to keep them apart, but maybe I don’t have to live by the rules of the story. From the looks of it, my girlfriend’s wanted to meet my mother; my boss has wanted to make amends, but it’s all too much for Mom. She only wanted a little soup; instead I’ve interrupted lunch with this crisis of my making, when all I had to do was ring another bell. She only had one door to answer and didn’t get to choose. There is no princess; that is the meaning of the story. Every door conceals a tiger.

Copyright © April 1, 2007 David Hodges

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