On Sunday night, everything seemed to be going well. I was getting ready for bed, my sister and her boyfriend were nestled all snug in their air matress, and Spousal Unit was watching something explody with Joe and Kaelin. I said goodnight to all and went to bed, closing the door behind me. It was more difficult to close than usual, but I thought little of it and slept like a milk-drugged kitten.
The fact that I closed the door is very important. It does not close easily - the shape of the door and frame have changed enough with time that they are no longer perfect matches for each other, and weather affects them as well. (This makes dramatic exits and entrances difficult, because if you slam it, it just bounces back open again.) Usually, Spousal Unit and I just leave the door closed enough for privacy.
Not on Sunday night.
Because of all the yelling and explosions in the other room, I took care to close the door. Monday was my first full day of work, and I wanted a decent night's sleep. So I pushed, and I shoved, and the door slid back into the frame. I slept for four glorious hours.
In the middle of the night, about quarter to three, I half-awoke to the sound of the door squeaking in its frame. I laid in bed blearily, waiting for Spousal Unit to make his entrance, while some part of me prepared to cuddle him mercilessly. After hours of playing video games, he was finally coming to bed.
But the squeaking of the door continued, and I didn't hear his footfalls in the room. I awoke more fully, propped up on an elbow as I looked at the door.
The squeaking stopped, and the door was still closed. I got up and went to it.
"Spousal Unit?" I asked. (Not really - I called him by name.)
"Yeah?" his voice came back at me.
"What's going on?"
"The door's stuck; I can't get it open. You know that metal thing on the frame, where the door latches? My belt caught on it today and bent it. I think that's the problem."
I thought of two things then. One: I was trapped in the bedroom and all I had to sustain me was a small bag of animal crackers.
Two: I really, really needed to pee.
Spousal Unit and I coordinated our efforts. He pushed, I pulled. He tried turning the handle, then I did. I pushed back on the bent metal plate, trying to pry it from the door's cruel grasp. Nothing.
We sat for a moment on each side of our door, trying to think of solutions. Trying not to think of our mortality and the fact that I was stuck, thousands of millimeters away from civilization. It was Spousal Unit who said,
"Hey, get an old gift card or something from my wallet. Try to stick it between the door and the frame, by the metal plate."
I grabbed the Borders gift card, to give the poor thing some purpose once again, and squeezed it into place. The card went deep enough to keep the latch out, but not much deeper. We tried pulling again, with the same results.
"Well, I can always climb out the window in the morning, and bring whatever you need," I said.
"I know, but I want to go to bed," whimpered Spousal Unit.
He went outside with a chair and made his way to the window while I opened the screen. What a relief to see him again - I knew my rescue from the bedroom's deep confines would not be far off. He would come in, figure things out from the inside, and set me free.
Yet he couldn't get into the room - the window ledge wouldn't support him to climb in. So it was back to square one. And I still needed to pee.
At some point after removing the doorknob, Kaelin emerged from her bedroom (opening the door easy as pie, thankyouverymuch.) We'd been whispering this whole time to keep from waking her and Joe, yet we were relieved to see someone who could solve our problems: a homeowner.
As Spousal Unit explained our plight to her, I paced in my tiny cage, rationing myself a couple of animal crackers. At least with the doorknob off, food could be siphoned to me in the long-term. From beyond my door, I heard the sound of typing. It couldn't be... could it?
"We're Googling it," Spousal Unit whispered, a smile in his voice.
I couldn't help imagining all the strange things that would pop up in that search: people whose children are locked away from them, grown adults posting questions online instead of calling a locksmith, or begging advice from strangers instead of friends who could come help.
Finally, when I'd started to consider cannibalism (on what, I'm not sure), I used a knife to hold back the latch and slide two gift cards in the door: one from above, one from below. They held back the wall plate well enough that the door sprang free from its confines! I could see people in the hallway again - joy and rapture!
An examination of the wall plate showed it was bent at a 45-degree angle - not very conducive to easy door movement. Kaelin immediately removed it, mentioning,
"When I first heard the noise out here, I thought you were having sex, but it sounded too awkward and sad for that."
I thanked my friend and my Spousal Unit for my freedom and scampered down the hall. My first free movements led me to a place I'd missed dearly in my minutes of confinement: the bathroom.