When I was about three, I locked myself in the bathroom closet. My dad was away with the Army Reserves, so my mom was home with three little kids. I’d been brushing my teeth, and for some reason, I decided to go into the closet, climb into the laundry basket and close the door.
It locked. I don’t remember why we had a closet that locked from the inside, but such was life back then. The door had slats on it, so some light came through, and it was dim and cozy there in the dirty clothes—ask my cat, because he does the same thing quite often.
My mother found me and tried the door unsuccessfully. “Can you open it, honey?” she asked. I couldn’t, or I didn’t try…it was nice to be alone in the quiet closet, away from my siblings. Maybe I would sleep in the closet all night. “We can slide baloney slices under the door,” my brother suggested. “You can eat toothpaste.”
I contemplated a life spent in the little closet. I could climb up on the shelves and sleep in the towels, play with Mom’s hot rollers, which were very fun. Take many naps, because unlike other, less savvy toddlers, I loved napping.
Mom shooed my sibs into their rooms and called the fire department. I may have dozed off as she talked to me through the door. Then the firefighters were there. “Do you have a toothbrush?” one of them asked my mom, and she handed one over, and just like that, he popped the lock.
My little adventure was over. Mom picked me up, walked the amused firefighters to the door. I believe they gave me a toy. Mom let me stay up a little longer, so I got a little extra time with her, just us two.
All my life, I’ve loved small spaces. Cozy spots, I call them. I guess we know why.