In Partnership With

Christopher Forrest

Heavy Red Door

There’s a large house near a fork in a river surrounded by green fields and trees. If you were to follow the course of the river by the house upstream for about 200 meters you would find the small village of Albadan Cove. The house is entered through a large mahogany door painted a glossy red colour. On a brisk sunny morning when the weather isn’t ugly it’s possible to see Albadan from the window on the first floor of the house with the red door, a beautiful view. To get to the red door of the house you would cross a small arched bridge which traversed one of the forks of the river. The other fork ran through the back garden of the red door-ed home. On a dark winter evening two hanging lamps, one either side of the heavy red door would guide you to solace. The houses large grey outer walls seemed to almost scare the coldness of night away.

Once you opened the heavy red door the heat of the fireplace in the corridor hugged you like a long lost lover and once you shut the heavy red door you were surrounded by a peaceful, almost comforting solitude. Your second greeting after the heat was that of a choice, you could walk up the carpeted stairs or carry on past the fireplace and delve further into the downstairs.

If you chose to head upstairs you would find yourself on the landing. There were two cream doors to the left of you and two to the right; three bedrooms and a bathroom.

The first room on the left was mine; middling in size with blue and white vertically striped wallpapered walls. The floor was made of ash but there was a heavy red rug which hid most of it. There was a cream suede settee against the back wall of the room and my single bed was against the right hand wall. Above the settee was a large window overlooking a small field. At night when I couldn’t sleep I would spend my time staring out that window watching a family of foxes scavenge for food. It fascinated me that they were responsible for their own survival. If they couldn’t find food to scavenge they would die, so I always left out scraps for them. I think it’s important to be nice to foxes.

Downstairs lay the kitchen, a generously sized living room and a bathroom.

The kitchen was always pristine yet there always remained a lingering smell of garlic. It had eggshell walls and a black and white tiled floor. A large dark green stove stood strong amongst the white polyurethane fittings which had black metal handles, cold to the touch. Mother used spend a lot of time slaving away over the stove, but that was years ago.

The living room was rectangular and had salmon walls, an odd colour but strangely inviting. Much like a person this house had many loveable quirks and obscurities. In the centre of the room there was a record player and 2 large speakers 2 meters either side of it. A window out looking the front of the house was covered by a blackout blind however the cruelty of age had caused cracks to form and layers of light leak through into puddles on the floor. Under the window was a long book shelf containing everything from Orwell and Lovecraft to instruction manuals for various electronic devices.

I used to live here, I used to love here. I still do but to think of that beautiful heavy red door tears me apart inside. In my blissful solitude, in my blissful ignorance I never truly saw the waywardness of life. I never fully understood that things can be taken away from you until well the thing I loved the most, that house was taken from me and I was evicted. I moved to the city as to have somewhere to stay. I moved from hotel to hotel to hostel until the money ran dry and I had nowhere left to go. I’ve grown accustomed to cold and the rain and the hunger but last night burned in a way I had never experienced. Last night I slept in the archway of a building with a heavy red door.

Author: Christopher Forrest.
Award: Second Runner-Up.
School: Douglas Community School.