by Deborah, a.k.a. Mother Goose
Prologue: While visiting my sister in Portugal in 2010, I was captivated by the old, framed entryways of Lisbon and the surrounding towns. With camera in hand, I took dozens of photographs of doors that called to me. I intended to write short stories based on my favorites. On the plane coming home, this particular story was already forming in my mind. Now, nearly three years later, I’m finally writing my Doors of Portugal (“Portas de Portugal”) stories, opening the imagined secrets that lie behind enchanting entrances. Welcome, please enter in.
Her eyes were blue like the front door. Well, a slightly darker blue. But, her cheeks were precisely as rosy as the tender pink walls of her home.
Home, the way she said it always filled people with a deep sigh of relief.
The little girl loved to remind everyone, including visitors in her village, it was just that – her home. Old women would sit crocheting while lovingly listening to the little girl’s stories. When Isa proclaimed her roots, their curled, knowing smiles hinted to any adult there was more substance to Isa’s story of origin. More than Isa knew herself.
One tourist sensed it. So, he inquired further, “Yes, I realize you have a home with blue doors, but where are you from?”
Isa’s eyes widened. She looked down, inhaled and refocused her gaze up at the very tall visitor. In one breath, she explained her simple answer in her own elaborate way.
“My home is the one with the blue front door. Just like my eyes, except, well, my eyes are a little darker. But, my cheeks are just like the rosy, tender pink walls that surround my home. Pink is my favorite color! I don’t know if it’s because I like the color on my cheeks or on the walls better. We don’t even have a house number! Can you believe that? I do, because my home doesn’t need one. Everyone in my village knows it’s my house. They all say, ‘Why over there is where our little Isa lives.’”
Straightening up, the man exhaled. Tilting his head, he smirked, as he thought, “This little one has spunk and sparkle, but she doesn’t have any idea . . .”
His thoughts were interrupted by a low, hissing sound from the old woman. Loving, but firm, she said, “Isa! That is enough. No need to explain further.”
The foreigner was snapped from his curiosity. The truth, which was known to this woman but unimaginable to the little girl and only tantalizingly hinted at to the man, was slammed shut.
“We thank you, sir, for purchasing these linens,” the old woman said, placing the change in his hand. Isa sat nearby, quiet in defeat.
“Good day, sir,” the old woman said with finality.
“Good day, ma’am,” he replied. As he walked away, the tourist couldn’t help but look back at the cherub. Isa.
Something about her warmed his heart in ways he had not felt for a long time. Not since childhood, really. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it. Until suddenly, his subconscious began reciting – 143 Hickory Lane . . .
Instantly, he knew what Isa had surfaced within him – remembrance. The knowing – no – the certainty that he belonged.