It’s not always what it seems…
The three large thuds shook him out of bed. The room was void of light and his eyes could barely adjust. He sat upright, perched on the edge of his bed, and gathered that it must have been the early hours of the morning, long before the sun would make its rounds. He didn’t need to wake up for some time but had no intention of quickly returning to whatever dream disturbed his slumber. No, even just for a moment, he would sit in silence, warding off the loud sounds – the remnants of a bad dream. And when ready, he’d drift back off.
These three were louder — more forceful than the last and he definitely was not asleep. Afraid, he turned on the lights and searched for something, anything that he could use for his protection. He couldn’t imagine who it could be at this time and had no intention of letting anyone in. He imagined a crazy killer at the door and grabbed an old baseball bat that he kept in the bedroom closet. He clutched it tighter with each step towards the front door. Slowly, he pulled the latch on the peephole and hesitantly gazed outside. He couldn’t make out the figure standing in the dark. They made no movements or adjustments, as the man conducted his assessment.
“Hurry up, I know you’re in there,” said a voice.
The man jumped back, letting the latch shut and the bat fall from his hands, the metal clanging against the floors. Surely, whoever the mystery figure is heard it.
Again the figure knocked, each blow causing the windows on his home to rattle. He could call someone, but who? He lived alone and in a remote house far from the majority of the town. Not a soul could be heard for miles, which is exactly what he wanted. He’d grown weary of people over the years and their intentions. He once dreamt of a different life but had grown to be much more of a recluse. Perhaps he could have done something to change his life, but surely that time had passed.
He wanted to speak but was reminded of his teachings. In his culture, you do not answer the calls of strangers, especially those that come at night. If it’s death that is knocking, he’d have no choice but to go with him and he wasn’t ready to die.
“Open the door!” The figure’s impatience sent a shock through the man’s body.
Mustering whatever courage he possessed at the moment, he finally replied, “Who are you and what do you want?”
“Let me in and I’ll explain, Steven.”
The figure knew his name and was clearly there to take him. How could he resist? He’d already spoken to them and they weren’t leaving. Saddened by his fate, he pressed his hand against the doorknob, slowly turning and pulling until he was face to face with the figure. Now closer and standing in the light, the man marveled at how beautiful Death was. Perhaps, he’d finally found the peace that he desired.
“Death, I feared you, but now I am ready.” He raised his arms awaiting an embrace that never came.
“I am not Death. Death does not knock nor does it ask to be invited in. Death comes when it pleases, making life all the more worth living. I am Opportunity. I come every so often and it is I who knocks. It is up to you to let me in.”
The man stood in the doorway overcome by the relief of knowing that he hadn’t yet met Death. He didn’t know much about who was standing before him, but he invited them in, finally ready to hear what they had to say.