This door is locked

This post is inspired by two WordPress daily prompts; Locked and Abandoned

Locked

As a die hard Silent Hill fan the word locked instantly brings to mind the familiar refrain of the game:

The lock is jammed.  This door cannot be opened.

The phrase serves two purposes.  One, it means not having to create time consuming and costly empty rooms and it acts as a way of pushing players through the game by minimising opportunities to meander.

Its second purpose is partly accidental but helps to reinforce the nightmarish atmosphere of trying to find a way out or through but only encountering locked doors in dark corridors. It’s this side I’m interested in.

There are different types of locked doors.  Locks can keep things out but they can also keep them in.

Abandoned

Many of the participants chose to interpret the theme by writing on themes of emotional abandonment or leaving an unloved job.

Like a few others, I chose to revisit one of my abandoned posts to offer it a chance of redemption.

Back in January I promised to write about the game Life is Strange and why its story and characters captivated and troubled me.

It started off as semi-review before moving into an exploration of its themes of loss, regret and changing the past by travelling through time to start all over again.  The first part of that post is now a post of its own.

Locked and Abandoned

In writing the original post I took an unexpected turn and I found the door in the dark corridor with its jammed lock.

The door that cannot be opened for a very good reason. I’m the one that jammed it. What lies behind that door is too much to contemplate.

Butterflies and hurricanes

The dilemma at the heart of time travel stories like Life is Strange is simple and familiar to anyone living with loss and regret.

If you had the chance to go back in time and do things differently, would you?

Most of the time travel stories I know take this premise and then go on to show terrible consequences that far outweigh the past harms undone.  In a way they follow on from the fairy tale themes of being careful for what you wish.

Careful what you wish, you may regret it / Careful what you wish, you may just get it

This is my locked door.

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Behind that door is an alternate timeline where there were heart beats not silence, proud double cuddles with visitors bearing congratulations not consolation, smiles not pity, where a sea of white cards turns blue and where we light candles for their birthdays rather than in their memory.

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We have no way of knowing if had the boys lived whether we would have had our rainbow children or what they would have been like or how they would all get on (or not).  There’s no way of knowing whether I would have left my job, moved house, kept or lost friends or strengthened or weakened family ties.

Was it our grief that consumed and distanced us or did it just rip off the wallpaper covering the cracks of long fragmented relationships?

There’s no way of knowing whether if we could go back in time whether we could have changed the outcome, if we could have only got the doctors that day to listen

Much like the infamous butterfly, the flapping of these tiny thoughts quickly becomes a hurricane too wild and dangerous to be contained.

It’s a harrowing thought exercise giving rise to questions that may be better left unanswered.

So with regret I lock that door and walk away. Far better to abandon that room than risk its consequences.

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54 Comments Add yours

  1. Oh my goodness I found this an incredibly moving post and nothing that I write now will do your eloquent post justice. Sometimes we have to have locked doors to protect ourselves and it can be hard but sometimes we need to leave them alone. See what I did say, I have just left utter waffle-sorry! #stayclassy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShoeboxofM says:

      To be honest, I wrote it without thinking too much about it and I don’t know how I would respond to it! It just started pouring out at the end of (what I thought) was unrelated post about a thought provoking game about a time travelling teen.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Like

      1. Well I enjoyed reading it, I should have said that!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. ShoeboxofM says:

        Thank you. I would say the companion piece is lighter but we’re talking about a tiny bit!

        Like

  2. Wow. Thank you for sharing this. I don’t know…there are so many questions in life that won’t have answers and sometimes looking for those answers can be damaging…I think this is a very wise and powerful piece about the importance of locked doors. Maybe walking away from them with regret and sadness but probably with much more wisdom than most. #stayclassy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShoeboxofM says:

      Labouring the door metaphor, there are moments that threaten to rattle those locks. Seeing the double buggies and twin brothers that would have been their age start the what ifs but I ignore it as best I can.

      Like

      1. Of course there are, I’m sorry…there must be moments all the time.
        And I love an elongated metaphor!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. carolcliffe says:

    It is interesting how one train of thought can lead to another. Sadly it took you down a pathway of painful memories, but hopefully it helps you to share these thoughts with your readers. #bestandworst

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Amazing and powerful, as always. Sorry I’m going to quote you but I love, love, loved this, “Much like the infamous butterfly, the flapping of these tiny thoughts quickly becomes a hurricane too wild and dangerous to be contained.” Thank you for sharing, I can only imagine how hard it is to leave that door locked. Thanks again for linking up with #StayClassy.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Papa_Tont says:

    What an incredibly moving post! It must be heartbreaking to lock that door and walk away, but constantly dwelling on the what ifs and if onlys would entirely consume you. I can’t imagine how much strength it took to turn that key, but for what it’s worth I think you’re doing the right thing. #DreamTeam

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShoeboxofM says:

      You’re right, it’s a self defence mechanism.

      Thanks for your kind words. It does help reassure me I’m abandoning the what ifs rather than the memory of our sons.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Papa_Tont says:

        Exactly, you will never forget them, and dare I say it you’ll never get over the loss; you’ll just learn to accept it and find a way to live with the grief.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Kat says:

    Such a moving post, I think we all have a few doors we would rather keep locked up but sometimes it’s good to visit it a little and reflect. On another note I absolutely love the Silent Hill games! #fabfridaypost

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShoeboxofM says:

      Yes! I’m glad to have found a fellow fan! I’m a big fan of the series and the much underrated and maligned Shattered Memories which goes into some of the territory I wrote about here.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Kat says:

        My favourite is the 2nd which made me thing a lot about the locked doors so I got where you were coming from and I think with the story of the game being the way it is, where he is in denial a lot he’s locked away a part of his mind…lots of references really. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. ShoeboxofM says:

        SH2 is one of my favourite games. The atmosphere is incredible and the design complements the story perfectly. The recurring theme of doors, holes and descent as well as the monsters being a reflection of his guilt and emotions.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Kat says:

        Completely agree, it’s a fantastic game! Pyramid Head is one of my favourite creations in terms of enemies in a game series.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Kat says:

        Yeah I have, I see the points! He’s hardly aggressive towards him throughout the whole game. Yeah I know, I meant I kind of got why he was there in Homecoming but then again, they could have done that representation with a whole new enemy or character really. I agree he was for SH2 rather than anything else because he was a huge part of James really, a manifestation of his ‘darker side’ guilt and denial!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. ShoeboxofM says:

        Ugh….Homecoming. Horrible game, missed the point entirely.

        Downpour was much better (story wise), exploring similar themes of guilt and retribution (the comic Anne’s Story goes into more detail about that) and the sidequests gave more in terms of story based rewards than the usual fetch quest trinkets.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Kat says:

        I really liked Homecoming! I know it’s not a favourite with so many and I agree it could have been done better, I loved Downpour it was really well done. I was gutted when the Silent Hills project was cancelled too.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. ShoeboxofM says:

        I didn’t get to play PT but watched a YouTube playthrough and a teaser trailer. It looked amazing and was genuinely unsettling. “I said: LOOK BEHIND YOU.” Loved the House of Leaves style approach of the looped corridors.

        Homecoming had good nightmare sequences but towards the end (with The Order) I started to hate it and was glad when it was over.

        Like

  7. Annette says:

    Gosh, I didn’t expect that… moving, reflective, emotional, I was right with you willing that door to stay firmly shut. Is that the best thing to do? I don’t know… it does feel like it though doesn’t it. Despite the difficult subject, I have to say #DreamTeam – we have a wordsmith in the house! Thank you for linking up. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShoeboxofM says:

      Thank you for such kind words! It’s an impossible balancing exercise that does no justice either to the boys or their living siblings. That’s why it has to stay shut.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Yep, you had me at Silent Hill fan 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Such a powerful and poignant post. It has really moved me and I just wish there was something that I could say that would help heal the pain and answer the questions. I know that I can’t and I can see how locking that door must be the only possible way forward but I hope that locking it helps you lovely. Thank you for sharing such an emotional post xx
    #dreamteam

    Liked by 1 person

  10. min1980 says:

    There are so many unanswered questions and locked doors in life. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to go through what you did, but I am sure that I would be asking the same kind of questions and what ifs. Another thought-provoking a beautifully written post. #FabFridayPost

    Like

    1. ShoeboxofM says:

      Thank you. It really depends on the day or time of the day. Some days it feels unreal like a fading photograph and other days we are right back in that room.

      We tried to have a conversation about what’s behind that door shortly after our daughter was born but shut it for all the reasons (and a few more) talked about above.

      Like

  11. love this post. Moving, eloquent, and above all, an interesting read.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. There are things that really should be hidden and locked. Sometimes I wish I can do this with my thoughts and worries and fear. But I dont have that skill yet. This is a strong post, scary on so many parts. #pocolo #fabfridaypost

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I think sometimes it is self preservation isn’t it? memories are just too painful to go back over and uncover. I think often they will come back and may need dealing with but in those times hopefully support can help with that. As Merlinda says above it is a skill indeed. I’m glad you wrote the post though, as so many others will relate. Thanks for sharing with #bestandworst x

    Liked by 1 person

  14. As always brilliantly written and of course so sad. I can only imagine how hard that locked door must be for you. I am always intrigued by time, time lines and the concept of the butterfly effect – are things Pre determined or can things be changed? #stayclassy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShoeboxofM says:

      It’s a rich seam for fiction (see Life is Strange!). It’s one of those odd things that one of the messages behind the seemingly progressive and forward looking sci-fi is that what will be will be and is meant to be and messing with that risks dinosaurs or Hitler. Or a Dinosaur Hitler.

      Like

  15. You know I sometimes contemplate the what ifs and could bes. However with a distance. In the end you are completely right that a door unlocked can cause a butterfly affect. However there are days when little memories flutter from the key hole. Those tiny memories remind me that no matter what I am dealing with now it will never cause me as much grief as the loss of my babies. I say carry the memory but lock the what ifs when you need to because we all need to protect our hearts inorder to move forward in our daily lives. Much love my friend much love ❤
    #fortheloveofblog #Stayclassy #Kcacols

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Becky, Cuddle Fairy says:

    I found this really moving & almost frightening. I’m so sorry for your loss. I don’t know what’s best when it comes to memories & how to deal with thoughts & the what if’s. Locking it all up with chains might work or it might just repress feelings that will burst out down the road. Only you know what’s best for you. Thanks so much for linking up with #bloggerclubuk x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShoeboxofM says:

      Problem is I don’t know what’s best for me! I think it’s about grieving in a way that I can handle at the time. It’s sad that the prospect of imagining happy times with the boys fills me with fear. It sounds like a nice thought but then it moves into if I had them now would I have my children now. Is one the price of the other?

      Like

  17. Mrs Tubbs says:

    I think everyone has to work things out in their own way … I hope you find yours. (Sorry, whatever I write just seems meh)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShoeboxofM says:

      Thanks for commenting and the lovely tweet. No need for apologies.

      Like

  18. This is very deep and there are so many unanswered questions. I assume no one would know what the consequences would be if we were able to go back in time to chance something. I wish I could change and stop time too, but time stop for no one…

    Thank you for linking up with us on #FabFridayPost xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Wow brilliant post – I am so moved and don’t quite know what to write. I’m so sorry for your loss and you can only do what’s best for you. Such a powerful post xx #kcacols

    Like

  20. It’s difficult to know what to say as obviously you have experienced something traumatic and terrible. There are rarely words that can bring any comfort in my experience of these situations. I do hope that you can find peace soon. Thank you for sharing with us on #fortheloveofBLOG

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Silly Mummy says:

    Very beautifully written and powerful post. I don’t have your experiences, but on a lesser scale, I relate to the point – the rabbit hole of wishing bad experiences, regrets and traumas could be undone, whilst knowing that there are good things, things that you would not undo, that only came out of the person you became and the path you followed as a result of the bad things that went before. I agree with you – I do believe that maybe some doors do just have to be locked, some questions unanswered, simply because there will be no peace to be gained by pursuing entry. It’s a dizzying concept for anyone, but I can’t imagine what it must feel like to try to balance the what ifs of the thing you wish you could change against what you have now that may never have existed if you could go back, when both are of equal value and equally loved to you, as they are for you. #PoCoLo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShoeboxofM says:

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment. It’s been reassuring to see that I’m not the only one with a locked door!

      Like

  22. Madeline says:

    I do wonder if there’s nothing behind the door but unanswered (and unanswerable) questions, maybe it is best to keep it locked. But then it will still always be there. Maybe we need a cat-flap, or a letter box, or something like that, to let things through the door a little at a time, so we can take our time to process it. I don’t know, I’m not sure there are any answers when it comes to grief, it’s such a personal thing. x #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShoeboxofM says:

      I love that you carry the door metaphor! I like the idea of a cat flap. Preferably with a little lock.

      Like

  23. mackenzieglanville says:

    The first thing that struck me was how locks are for locking things out and locking them in, just really got me thinking. What can I say? This post was just . . . . I am at a loss for the right words here, it is almost as if I add words I am taking away what this post left me feeling. You have taken my breath away with these words. On another note though, I use a visualisation where I walk down a white corridor and find a door, when I open it I get to see all my children there, it is my beautiful place. #mg

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Wow what a powerful and moving post! I really wasn’t expecting to read this. It must be very hard for you to go through this. I totally understand about having to lock some doors to protect yourself of some unwanted memories. However, I guess sometimes is good to come back and question things but it is better to do it when you are ready as it can be another way to help you with the healing process. Great post! Thanks for sharing this at #KCACOLS, x

    Liked by 1 person

  25. A moving and powerful post as others have said, and would we change the past? could we change the past, it’s a really tough call and I don’t know if I could open doors in my past either. Thanks for linking to #PoCoLo and sorry it’s taken me a while to get here.

    Liked by 1 person

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