A mysterious fist pounded at the door. Bang, Bang, Bang. Without carpet or better insulation, the sound reverberated around the room and immediately annoyed me.
“Mrrwhaf?” I yelled through the door with a mouthful of peanut butter.
It was lunch time and there was a sign on the door stating in very neat and uniform letters, “CLOSED,” which did not leave much room for an alternative interpretation.
Bang, Bang, Bang. The knocking continued, shattering the golden silence of noon like an errant bullet through the front window of a retired school teacher, scattering a million shards of glass on the ground where previously there were none.
I bit into a fat baby carrot, severing it in half with my very sharp teeth. It broke with a loud CRACK that was surely heard in the hallway indicating the eating of lunch. Thoughtfully, I rolled the carrot chunk towards my molars for the most efficient mastication of the vegetable.
Then, I focused all of my energy on the door. It was made out of cheap and cracking wood, held together by a coat of white paint, scuff marks were at the bottom from multiple feet. Narrowing my eyes, I stared with the intensity of a brain surgeon preparing to remove a tumor and fixated on whoever stood on the other side.
I was gratified with a few seconds of silence which were without a doubt too good to be true, as no footsteps followed. At first, I only assumed that the would-be intruder had not vaporized as I intended, which was then confirmed as fact when the aggressive knocking continued.
“Nobody’s home,” I yelled and launched into a period of self-reflection.
Was it selfish to want just one uninterrupted lunch? Was it wrong to take that time back for myself and to declare that it was something beyond want and was actually a need? I struggled with the boundary of giving and balance of self-care with professional responsibility, recognizing only afterwards when I had nothing left but resentment that I was already to the emotional land of no-return for the day.
At last, the knocking stopped and the sound of footsteps were heard heading out the door.
It was a small victory, fleeting and hard fought which somehow made the rest of my peanut butter and jelly sandwich taste that much better.