the world beyond the door
"I see Nikki's wearing a new outfit today," Mr. Harley would joke 
to my mother  on the phone, referring to the ribbon in my hair. I was 
three years old, and out streaking in the yard again, much to the 
embarrassment of my parents.  "Err...well, she does get so hot in the 
summer," my mother would answer sheepishly. "We try to stop her, 
but she always manages to squeak by us  and then we can't catch her!" 
My  mom must have wondered what gene she had that could have passed 
on to make such  a strange-acting, heathen child. I hated clothing. Not 
just hated it, LOATHED it. To me, it felt like a steel cage around my body, 
cutting me off from the wonderful feeling of wind on my skin. I especially 
hated shoes, preferring the feel of soft grass against the soles of my feet 
instead of scratchy starched white socks. When I'd wake up in the 
morning, the first thing I would think about was my little  home outside, 
near the raspberry bushes. I run to it (naked, of course) the first chance I
 had every day. The sunlight streamed in through the trees above, rustling 
the leaves so delightfully. I'd lie there and go back to sleep, feeling the 
deepest happiness a three year old child could feel. There were always 
tea-parties  there of course, and all the elves, fairies, birds, squirrels and 
chipmunks  were invited. I had a "living room" in the little round clearing 
surrounded with tall trees, a "kitchen" where the raspberry bushes were, 
and  a "bedroom" in the middle of the soft swaying grass. I ate my fill of 
raspberries every day and felt the world was a beautiful, wonderful, magical 
place. One day, after    my usual routine of pulling off my clothes as quickly 
as possible, I went to the door. I turned the knob, but it would not open. I 
pushed at it, panicking, feeling a new emotion welling inside me that I could 
not name. At the top, out of my reach, was  a deadbolt. Children are too 
young to understand bitterness and loss, but the closest thing I could 
feel was something to the effect of "why?"  

I sat for hours staring at the door, just remembering the world beyond it that    
I loved so much. I tried to open it every day. The outcome never changed. 
Eventually I succumbed to the world of coloring books, toys, television and 
clothes. Soon the world beyond the door was forgotten. But sometimes I would 
dream I was running and was happy and free. I'd wake up sad, but I didn't
 remember why. 

I am an adult now and have longsince become used to a world full of locked
doors and cages. But happy were the days when there were no doors that would
refuse to open to you, where joyful days lived on forever.    

NEL 
Independence Day, 2003