Knock (Daily Planet email #947)
Sometimes, you hear a knock at the door. It sounds like the previous knock, so how do you know it’s somebody different? One explanation: the person who came in before, you say, she’s right here. You like things to be linear like that, these concomitant dualities, here and there, crack or wack, and so on. Sure, sure, I’ll give you that, but do you see both of her hands? Watch them, one holding the teacup, the other worrying a fray on her sweater. Watch those hands, do you still hear a knock? No? Well, it could have been her after all, or maybe they’ve gone away. Maybe you’ve gone deaf? Or maybe they stole the door!
You know, I’m going to answer that door just to see what happens. But Oh goodness, it’s a skylight — I’ve just let the sunshine in! Of all things. But how did I get up here? As a child in church, I would stare at the ceiling and pretend the building was upside-down and try to navigate my way across the balustrades and up the wall to the doors, where…? Would I fall up, or down? Anyway, I was generous with my inattention because it was clear they weren’t talking to me, but then who…? I heard once (when I was listening) that one of the tricks of communication is to know your audience. And so: did they? Who is a soliloquy for, the speaker or the audience? I would ask, but then I’d have to come on stage, and then no more soliloquy! The observer has once again destroyed the observed.
And still we must solve the knocking. With a doorbell?! Don’t make me laugh. …just don’t. How about we see someone coming and build a door, then we will know exactly who’s behind it? Remember, you’re not running away, but towards something. Safety first, followed by desire, then logic. Maybe the walls that are closing in on you are making someone else’s room bigger? Every time God unparts the waters, thousands of Egyptian soldiers drown, and their horses. They say you have to choose your battles, but which battle have we chosen? The one where, if you win, you get to battle. The thing about soul searching: the problem of finding one. Dang it, I think they’re at the back door.
I go out the back and there’s nobody there, no one I can see. They could have come in through the screen, but I don’t know anybody aqueous enough and if I did, how would they even knock? Knocking is the domain of the solid. I guess the plumbing knocks sometimes. Could be a spirit, though why bother pretending to ask for an invitation? I was a spirit once, didn’t ask for a thing, just plain entered the room like a mood, like barometric pressure, like a conclusion. They welcomed me, it was ridiculous, I could have been anybody. Lucky for them I wasn’t. …What if I had knocked? It doesn’t bear answering.