Closed Doors and Lost Keys

Outside the Locker Room

I pounded on the locker room door, but it remained locked from the inside. As I stepped back my feet moved something that scraped along the cement floor. I looked down. There was a ring of keys and a photo ID with a clip. I picked them up and examined them. M. Hatch was the name under the photo of a clean cut man with silver hair.

As I pounded on the door again, it burst open and tall muscular black men in dark blue basketball uniforms streamed out followed by slightly overweight white men in suits. They were all shouting and gesturing confidently. Some wore battle hardened expressions of intent. Some were laughing and joyous already basking in the golden light of victory. Among the men in suits I saw the man pictured on the card and tried to get his attention. The stream of bodies carried me off to the side and pressed me against the cold hardness of the cement wall, as the team disappeared through another door. By the time I reached the door it was locked.

My shoes made a haunted echo in the silence left behind as I made way down now empty hall. At the end on my right were glass doors with metal handles through which I could see a busy office with a thin, light skinned woman obvious African decent. She was typing away and turned to pick up a ringing phone as I entered. As I waited for her to finish her conversation, I looked around the office at the back and sides of which I could see many doors and hallways leading into unknown areas.

“I found these in the hallway,” I said holding up the keys and ID card.

She looked at the items and did not seem to familiar with them.

“They belong to someone named Hatch. M Hatch,” I prompted.

Recognition came subtly across her face like the calming of a rippled pond.

“Oh, Mark,” she said recognizing the face on the card.

She took the keys and the card and thanked me. I walked out through the glass and metal doors and down a ramp. I stopped at the bottom next to heavy metal doors with the exit sign glowing bright green, frozen. Overwhelmed by disappointment and despair, I wept silently. People passed in and out of the doors. No one noticed me.

After a few minutes an idea occurred to me that began to cheer me up.

“Maybe no one has anything figured out,” I thought. “Maybe I have to figure out for myself.”

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