Story H 'One Thousand Doors' by Raelinda Woad

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I can remember my grandmother telling me, "Don't let people treat you like a doormat, they'll walk right over you."

But she should have said, "Don't let people treat you like a door, they'll walk right through you."

Because that's how I feel when I've been used. It's like my friendship was nothing but a door. A door in my soul that somebody just walked right through to get to a better place in their life. But once they were through, so was our friendship.

Now I try, I do try, not to dwell on negative memories. I like to think of myself as a YUSPY (Young Upwardly Spiritual Person). But sometimes my mind is like a radio station that I can never turn off. This morning I called it up and said, "Hi, I'd like to request some positive, healing thoughts." And my mind replied, "Sorry, but our major sponsor, your battered ego, had just requested another downward spiral of thriving bitterness, and shriveling self esteem."

By the time I got to work I didn't even want to think about what my aura looked like. (Probably like that tray at the bottom of a toaster oven that nobody ever wants to clean because it's such a hassle to scrape off all the burnt parts.) I resigned myself to a miserable day.

But sometimes you can walk right past something everyday, and not notice it until the day comes when you really need it. You see I worked in a jewelry studio that was on the second floor, above a locksmith shop. And that gave me an idea.

Those guys once told me that if I ever needed any work done I could have a 15% discount. But would they recognize me through my

charbroiled aura?

Well, I ran down the stairs and into the shop, and as luck would have it the owner himself was in, a master locksmith.

"Locksmith!" I cried.

"Jewelry Girl!" he cried.

"You recognize me?" I said.

"Sure," he said. "You once told me you work upstairs, making that flaky storybook jewelry."

"That's funky storybook jewelry," I corrected. "But never mind all that. I have a job for you." And then I took a deep breath to brace myself and said, "I want you to put a lock on the door of my soul."

Well, he looked at me as if I had gone completely nuts.

"The door of your soul?" he laughed. "But, Jewelry Girl...souls don't have -"

"Excuse me," I interrupted. "But souls do have doors. Trust me, they do."

"Oh I know that," he said. "I am after all a master locksmith. But what I was trying to say was, souls don't have just one door. So which door do you want the lock put on?"

More than one door? This completely threw me off.

"How many do I have in there?" I asked.

He stopped laughing. "Now that, Jewelry Girl, is The Question. One hundred doors? One thousand doors? Wouldn't we all like to know how many we've got, because each one of those doors is waiting for someone you have yet to encounter. That's why you ordered them in the first place. Everyone you meet in this life is gonna take a walk through your soul, one way or another."

"Everyone!" I thought. "This is terrible! In order to be truly safe I might have to build not one, but one thousand locks upon my soul."

Even at 15% off, this was gonna cost me.

"Excuse me," I asked, "is there anyway to get an estimate of the cost?"

"Sure," he said. "Close your eyes. And if you see anything that looks like a door, count it."

So I closed my eyes and there they were. One thousand doors. At least! But I found that counting them was very difficult because they did not look like what I expected doors to look like. Some of them looked like circles, and others looked like ladders. Some of them were made of flowers, and others were made of mirrors. And to make matters more confusing, many of the doors were constantly transforming. So that a door that one moment looked like the strike of a match, was the next moment shaped like the flight of a bird.

"Wow," I thought. "What kind of a person can walk through a door that is shaped like the flight of a bird?"

"Well, Jewelry Girl?" said the locksmith, "did you figure out the cost?"

I opened my eyes.

"Yes," I said. "But I think it's something I just can't afford."

And then I headed for the door feeling a little bit hopeful, and a little bit scared, to learn that being used does not mean being used up.