Photo by Pang P on Unsplash

This Hallway This Door

Danna Reich Colman
Jul 29, 2020 · 3 min read

I stand in this hallway looking towards this door
I am afraid of what’s on the other side
I know he will say “Come in” when he hears me knock and I am scared
He is in there lying on his bed with the television on
I hear something about Khrushchev’s meeting with Eisenhower
I don’t know what that means
I am twelve and I don’t care
I am still in the hallway afraid to knock

I stand in this hallway looking towards this door
I don’t want him to yell at me but I know he will
I only want to ask a few questions
I’m stuck on my homework and can’t find the answers to the problems
He will know the answers but he won’t give them to me
He will say “Look it up in the Book of Knowledge”
There are too many volumes and I don’t remember how
I am still in the hallway afraid to knock

I am lazy
I know that because he told me so and I have grades to prove it
He will tell me it’s for my own good to look things up
He will ask me what I did today besides go to school
He’ll say “How much exercise did you get?”
“Did you read the newspaper?”
He knows I didn’t do either and he will punish me
I am still in the hallway afraid to knock

I can tell my teacher tomorrow that I wasn’t feeling well
I can say I fell asleep by accident and didn’t have time to finish my homework She will be angry
I want her to think I am smart like the rest of the kids
Sometimes I raise my hand when I don’t know the answer to her question
She will call on me because she is delighted to see me participate
I will have to tell her I had an unrelated question and the kids will laugh
I am still in the hallway afraid to knock

My report card is always disastrous
The left side is filled with Cs except for As in spelling and P.E.
There are Ds in math and science
It is filled with check marks on the right side
It tells my father that I wasn’t paying attention and I was talking in class
I am very ashamed of my poor grades but I can’t make sense of anything
I don’t take notes in class and never open my books
I am still in the hallway afraid to knock

But I knock now anyway
I am even more frightened when I hear his voice telling me to come in
I slowly open the door and watch his eyes still on the newspaper
He holds it up to his face as I walk towards the end of his bed
He asks “What is it that you want, Danna?”
I say, “I can’t figure out the answer to this question, dad.”
He tells me to look it up in The Book of Knowledge
I turn around to face the hallway

He says, “Danna, how much exercise did you get today?”
“When was the last time you read a newspaper?”
I turn to say “I didn’t, dad.”
But he’s not waiting for my answer and shakes his head with disgust
He says, “Go to your room.”
“What’s the matter with you?”
“You’re punished.”
I am back in the hallway and ashamed of myself

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Danna Reich Colman

Written by

Writer and copyeditor. “What doesn’t kill us gives us something new to write about” ~ J. Wright

The Junction

The Junction is a digital crossroads devoted to stories, culture, and ideas. Our interests are legion.

Danna Reich Colman

Written by

Writer and copyeditor. “What doesn’t kill us gives us something new to write about” ~ J. Wright

The Junction

The Junction is a digital crossroads devoted to stories, culture, and ideas. Our interests are legion.

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