The Key

It all started after one of the longest tech days of my life. I had just returned to my dorm room. Or, correction the hallway to get to my dorm room. That year, this was a studio apartment that I lived in by myself. It was a Friday night. It was around 11:30.

I put my key in the door. It didn’t open. Ok. This had happened before. I would have to nurse it open. Fine. Not ideal. But fine. I can do this. I put my bags down. I tried the lock again. Jiggled the key back and forth. It wouldn’t budge. Hmmm. Try again. Nope. And again. Maybe if I try it this way? How about this way? Nothing. Give it a rest.

My hand was starting to hurt. Had I locked the door improperly that morning? Done something different? That morning was so long ago. I couldn’t remember. But my door jammed sometimes. This was a thing that happened. It hadn’t happened recently. But it did happen.

I tried my lock again. No game. Nothing worked. Maybe someone would help me? I heard the girl next door’s speakers blaring. She was friendly. Maybe she would help. I knocked on her door. “Hello? I’m locked out of my room, any way you can help me?” The music abruptly went quiet. There was no response. There was silence. She was waiting for me to go away. I knocked again. Nothing.

Ok. I thought. I’ll try my door again. I jiggled it back and forth. Over and over again. Nothing worked. I begrudgingly realized that I would have to go downstairs and ask the security guard for help. I arrived downstairs, and explained the situation. By this point, it was 11:50. He stared at me. Blankly.

Did he not understand what was going on? “Did you try jiggling it back and forth?” “Of course.” I told him. Of course I tried. That’s why my hand is so red. “Well why don’t you go back upstairs and try again?” “It won’t work.” I replied. Nothing had worked. “Try again. If it doesn’t work, come back down.” He told me.

“Is there something you will do if the door doesn’t open for me when I try again?” I asked. “I’ll call the locksmith.” He replied.

“Can we skip the step where I try again, and just call the locksmith now?” I asked. “Just go try again.” He said. I let out a deep sigh.

Why wasn’t he helping me I wondered? I went back upstairs. And then it hit me. He thought I was drunk. In my deliriously exhausted state, he thought I had been drunk. It was, after all, a friday night. But I never drank. I was just exhausted.

I got up to my apartment. The music was blasting again. Rude. I tried the lock. Nothing. Still didn’t work. I called my sister in tears. “My lock. IT won’t work” I cried. I collapsed on the floor. I was a wreck. I was so close to my bed. It was just on the other side. I just wanted to sleep. Was that too much to ask?

My sister listened to my whimpers sympathetically. I stood up. Tried the lock in the door.

It worked. Suddenly the door opened. For no reason. No reason for it to be jammed. No reason for it to open now. I let out a cry. “ARE YOU OK???” I heard my sister yell. “It worked!!!” I said. “It opened.”

“HOORAY!!” She said. I opened the door. Said goodnight. Collapsed on my bed.

That was the inciting incident for this short. Dramatizing the agony of doors not working and the inexplicable logic for them working again. The agony and ecstasy of apartment doors.