I live in Texas now, where you can just leave your windows open year-round and apartments come with sliding doors and balconies. When I first moved here, I didn’t know anyone, and one of my roommates––strangers the apartment complex had paired with me––never locked our front door when she went out. She didn’t lock it when she came home, either, I’m guessing because she assumed at least one other person was home. We got along well but this habit made me nervous. It led me to go into the living room and check the lock several times a day. I feared my stuff being stolen. At that time it felt like all I had in Texas was my stuff; in particular, my laptop, which I’d only bought and transferred years of writing onto a month earlier.
This week marks three years in Texas. I’ve since lived with other (wonderful and kickass and secure!) people, but still I spent much of the last year checking those fucking locks again. And the dials on the stove. And my inbox. My memories; the headlights on my car; the wording of any and all sent messages; my own thoughts, even, as if any of these things might be its own door I’d forgotten to lock, as if someone who wasn’t me––or who I aspired to be––might get in and fuck with what had been left inside. A couple times I ran late to work because I couldn’t remember if I’d turned the key left or right and verifying that made me miss my bus. I was in my last year of graduate school, after which my life would hinge wide open, and all I could think about was enclosure.
2016 has been a hard year. Let’s kick those doors down and allow the air in.