‘Door Knocking’ Short Story
It’s a bright, breezy Saturday morning and I’m doing light housework when I hear a knock on the front door. On the weekend nobody knocks at the front door at this time of day. Nobody except salespeople touting a product, charity or religion. I go to the window and look down at the doorstep, which doesn’t have a porch covering, and I see two people. A fair-haired woman who is thumbing through an iPad and a man in a jaunty hat. The window is open so I lean out, say a loud hello and they look up. Predictably, they respond with surprise, the man uttering the usual “A voice from above” and I give a weak smile. The woman swallows and clears her throat. She launches straight into her patter which goes something like this “We are currently in your neighbourhood discussing death and dying and what this means to families, your family…etc, death cropping up several times…and what are your thoughts on this subject?” My first reaction is annoyance, she hasn’t said who she represents. The invisible signs are as obvious as the outward message. My second reaction is one of astonishment. Do they really expect me to talk over such a matter with them, total strangers, door-knocking my street, making dogs bark, trying to look deep and meaningful on a topic which is universally devastating no matter what the circumstances? My third and final reaction is to look her in the eyes and say “I’m sorry, I do not wish to participate.” She smiles, he smiles, I offer them a polite good-bye and they wish me a happy weekend. As I’m drawing back, I catch a momentary look of relief on the woman’s face. ♥ Gretchen Bernet-Ward
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