Life in a Closet

by Talia Scheinberg
Life in a Closet

“I have a secret. A really important secret. Nobody can know. My secret? I live in a closet. A small closet, with a door in the back. Behind that door hides a world full of adventures. And that world, that’s where I live. In a closet.”

I have a secret. A really important secret. Nobody can know. My secret? I live in a closet. A small closet, with a door in the back. Behind that door hides a world full of adventures. And that world, that’s where I live. In a closet.

Once you realize you have a Closet World accessible closet, a robot is created to make it look like you’re not a crazy teenager locked in a closet.

Other people live there, too. My best friend’s name is Hannah. She lives in a closet in Arizona, but she practically lives in Closet World.

Anyway, today Hannah asked me if I wanted to come back to Arizona with her. Apparently she found her closet key and is able to swap places with her robot so it looks like I’m a friend from school. Hannah’s one of those techy kids who can figure everything out.

When we get to her house, she holds onto me and swaps places with her robot, who’s right outside her house. Hannah walks to her front door with my arm still cuffed in her hand. Her front door is freshly painted a soft shade of purple, with a gold and shiny doorknob.

“It’s real gold,” she informs me as I stare in awe. “You can feel it.” I slowly tap the smooth gold. It feels just like Hannah’s shiny light brown hair with natural blonde highlights that’s currently in a tight bun. She’s been growing it out since she was 10, and that means 6 years worth of hair! When she sits, her hair is down to her knees. My hair is nothing compared to hers, 8 inches of dark brown hair, faded blue dip dye at the bottom, leaving the bottoms bleached.

“You can open it.” Hannah says, interrupting my thoughts. I reach for the shiny knob, then I turn it, but it stops me.

“Locked.” I say. I feel the knob as she pulls out her keys from her bag.

“Sorry.” She says. She unlocks the door and we go inside.  We go down a long hallway painted paper-white that has drawings of trees that have labels for grades K-10th.

“I draw one every year,” Hannah tells me as she sees my amazement towards the pictures. “I enter them in the Arizona National Tree Drawing Contest. I’ve won every year.”

“There’s a-” I pause while making my voice all goofy “-tree drawing contest?” There’s a brief moment of silence, then we burst out in laughter. Our friendship just works that way.

“What’s all the racket down there?” an older woman’s voice says from the top of the staircase. Hannah leads me to the top, revealing her mother. Her mom has straight blonde hair that goes a bit past her shoulders. Her eyes are icy blue with anger. Her nose is long and narrow with a point at the end. Her freckless face is pale as the white painted walls.

“Mom, this is a friend from school,” Hannah says as if it was true. She’s such a great actress.

“What’s your name, dear?” Hannah’s mom asks politely. I don’t know what to say. Should I reveal my identity to this stranger I just met, or should I lie?

“Um, I’m Violet,” I say. Hannah glares at me and I shrug.

“But everyone calls her Ivy, right Ivy?” Hannah steps in. I nod even though it isn’t true. My real name is Ivy. It’s not that everyone called me that as a nickname, it’s just that it’s my real name.

“Flowers,” Hannah’s mom says. “Pretty. So, Ivy, where are you from?” I stop myself from saying Closet World, and I take a minute to remember where I’m from.

“California,” I say. “Yeah. In Hollywood, actually.” Hannah’s mom’s smile fades into a frown.

“Oh, what’s the story with that?” she asks.

“Um, I was raised by 2 movie stars… ?” Hannah’s mom doesn’t seem too flattered. She just fakes a smile at me.

“Well, you two can go to Hannah’s room. Oh, and by the way, my name is Mona.” Hannah’s mom, who now has a name, says.

Hannah leads me down a long hallway with lots of doors. We reach one door that has lots of signs. “NO TRESPASSING!” one says. “Property of Hannah B. Middleton” says another. My eyes light up to a handmade one that reads, “Yep, keep going down the hallway. Nothing to see here.” I laugh out loud at the humor of it.

We go into the room painted purple with blue and green lines trailing across the room, overlapping at parts, but also going in opposite lengths of the room. What I like about the lines are that they always are united, even if blue’s at the floor and green’s at the ceiling. I look over behind me and see a flower painted on the wall, every other petal blue, and the ones in between green. I see that the two lines generated from that flower. It’s almost like they’re siblings, two lines coming from the same flower, like two children coming from the same parents.

“So…” Hannah says. “What do you want to do?” I scan the room, looking for games I want to play or books I want to read. Then I look through the open door and see the long hallway.

“A tour of your house would be cool.” I say casually. But in my mind I’m begging, just thinking how cool it would be.

“That’d take HOURS.” Hannah says, exclaiming the hours.

“I’ve got all day.” I remind her. She thinks for a second then finally makes her decision.

“No,” I sigh and sit down on her bed. “We have to get back to Closet World by 9:00. We’re known there, people will start worrying.”

She’s right. Both of us were known for basically just being people. We always say hi to people (on the bus, on the streets, in the elevator, etc.).

“So…” Hannah says. “what do you think of Max?”

“Max?” I ask with disgust. Hannah nods. “No way.”

“What about Theo?”

“Not my type.”

“Ryan?”

“He’s creepy.”

“Will?”

“Socially awkward.”

“Bryan?”

“Doesn’t know I exist.”

“Austin?”

I pause at the sound of that name.

“Okay…” Hannah says. “Guess Austin’s the one.”

“No no no,” I say while stopping her from taking out her phone and calling him. “I paused because I was debating whether to barf or slap you. Austin. Ugh.” There’s an awkward moment of me staring at Hannah and Hannah staring at me for like 5 seconds, then she decides it ‘s about time to speak up.

“I can tell you like him.” her straight face turned to a smirk. I roll my eyes.

“I already told you. I hate him.”

“Sure you do.” She smirks.

“I don’t!” I throw a pillow at her. It had some kind of band on it.

“What’s…” I take a minute to read the front of it. “Glowing in the Day?” I squint while reading it.

“Oh, right…” Hannah says while snatching the pillow off the ground. “You’ve been trapped in a closet for 3 years. They’re a band, idiot.” She whacks me with the pillow.

“Well I’m sorry I’m not a techy nerd like you!” I whack her back.

“Well I don’t mean to rain on your parade, but I graduated college with a masters degree in technology. Oh, right, I’m sixteen. Wanna look at my Harvard acceptance letter from 5 YEARS AGO?” Suddenly I start sobbing uncontrollably. My best friend got into a great college when she was 11, and I dropped out of high school after 10th grade.

“What about those pictures up on the wall, the trees. Aren’t you supposed to be going to 11th grade in 2 months?”

“I skipped a bunch of grades,” she says softly while putting a hand on my shoulder. “After 10th, which was supposed to be 5th, I went straight to college.”

“You know what, I’ll just leave. I’m not a help in your life. This was all a mistake. Our friendship was a mistake. Bye.” I skim the room for her closet, then finally find it.

“Ivy,” I turn around. “Sorry. I know you’re still gonna leave me, but I just want you to know. I’m sorry.” I see real tears in Hannah’s eyes. For the first time in years, she cries real tears. Real, salty tears.

“I’m sorry too. Here’s this 20 dollar bill,” I pull out my last bit of money from my wallet. “You can have it. Though it won’t be much in your million dollar house.” I look around the room at all her expensive things.

“Ivy I didn’t think-”

“Keep it.” I say and then walk to the closet in the left corner farthest from the door. I slide open the door on the right side.

“Ivy,” Hannah says gently. I turn around. “Here’s the key,” she tosses me her key to the door in the back. “I won’t need it.” I wipe a tear from my left eye.

“Thanks for being a friend.” I say then walk to the closet. I see her creepy robot waving goodbye at me. I wave back only because I’m scared it’s gonna kill me.

I move some clothes out of the way and go to the door. I put the key in and twist. When I get through the tunnel, (which is much like the ones leading to airplanes) I see Hannah’s door, blending in with the purple polka dots and black background theme for today. Every day we have a theme, and everything in closet world just turns into the theme. Today the theme is rather dark, black with royal purple. My favorite theme was lilac and teal vertical stripes, mainly because those are my favorite colors. I look down at my skin. Black with white polka dots. In those 20 minutes I spent back on Earth, it was strange to have my olive colored skin back. To be different, and stand out. And my hair, it was brown again. With the bottoms bleached. My hair’s now black with the thick purple polka dots that cover the city from head to toe.

I decide to look behind Hannah’s door. See if there’s a connection to Earth. But there’s just a door. But now I need to find my way back to town, so I can be in my own house again. Not this storage closet with a bunch of doors. It’s not even a closet, just a narrow hallway with doors in the back. I decide to go all the way to the end of the hallway. Maybe I can make some sort of connection to Hannah. Maybe I can tell her I’m sorry for overreacting about the tiniest things. Maybe I can tell her that I really DO like Austin, and that I was just embarrassed. Maybe I can tell her that I want her to be my friend again.

I suddenly feel the need to sit down and start crying. What kind of person am I? Dumping my best friend because I was embarrassed? You overreact way too much, Ivy. A little voice in my head convinces you. I bet Hannah never wanted to be your friend in the first place. Another tells me. More voices with negative thoughts join in, increasing the speed and volume so that all I can hear is negative thoughts.

“STOP!!!” I scream at the top of my lungs. For once, they stop. I lay down on my right side. I hear a cracking noise, then remember the keys Hannah gave me. Well now, they’re broken. Thanks to me.

I wipe my eyes and get up to start my journey to the end of the hallway. I walk for minutes. Hours. I finally come across a door with the name, “Ivy Sinclair” imprinted on it. Out of anger, I rip the door out of the socket. My vision starts to go black. Then all at once, it vanishes.

 

 

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