The jumble of mismatched skeleton keys hang from the corner of the dusty hallway mirror, part of the landscape of home. They jangle softly as I brush my hand past them, waiting to find courage. Beneath my fingers, they’re cool and bright, silver and gold-toned.
My hand hesitates over them. Is today the day? I don’t know. The weight of ghosts has kept me from taking them down. It’s been too much to bear. And usually — always — it’s been best to walk by.
Today, spring beckons beyond the open door, sun casting into the dark hallway, spilling over wood floors and sky blue on the door. It’s the same door as the one I hesitate over, touch the knob and walk away, a daily habit.
Outside, I can see the wave of golden tulips in the front garden lining the path up. Today is the day. Perhaps the open door lets in some ghost of courage.
Holding my breath, I take the keys, walk the seven steps down the hall, and hesitate yet again by the locked interior door. Even through there’s a tangle of keys, I know the one: it fits perfectly in the lock. With a soft click, the latch is turned.
I push open the oak door to the wood-panelled study, brimming with books and papers and curios, just as you’d left them. And I’m with you again.