My friend told me, "If I beat you to the inside of your house, you'll be the one running home crying!"
The race was on. We charged up the sidewalk, up my front walk, and up the steps to the front door. I was the faster runner, and I was in the lead. I grabbed the screen door, flung it open, and ran through. There was a vestibule inside the door, which was separated from the main house by a glass-paneled door (picture is an approximation only; ours is much prettier).
The door was closed but ajar, not latched, so without slowing down I put out both hands and shoved it open. As it turns out though, the door was stuck in that barely-open position. Two panes of glass shattered, as both of my hands went through.
I remember the door swung open from the impact. I remember sitting down on the step, shocked by what had just happened. My mom came running in from the kitchen, saw the mess, and asked me, "Are you okay?"
"I... I think so," I told her. I didn't feel anything. Then I looked down. The inside of my right arm was already covered in blood. Being only eight, I immediately burst into tears and panicked sobs.
My mom tried to act rationally. She picked me up and took me into the kitchen; she wanted to wash off the wound and see how bad it was. I remember she turned the kitchen faucet on full blast, and she was trying to force my arm under the water. I remember that it hurt by then, and I didn't want my arm anywhere near that violent stream of water, so I was struggling against her.
My father walked in at this point, took one look at the situation -- the blood, tears, and water everywhere, the yelling and chaos -- and without asking any questions or investigating anything he immediately swept me up and raced off to the hospital.
My friend remembers just standing on my porch, her jaw dropping, frozen in shock as she watched the events unfold, my father rushing out the door with my blood all over his white shirt. My mother remembers that my toddling baby brother was very interested in the sparkly broken glass, and she had her hands full the instant we departed.
This story is a family legend, of course. The glass had sliced the underside of my arm open, almost from the wrist to the elbow. There was a second large gash in the upper arm, from the elbow continuing about half-way up. I was incredibly lucky in that, somehow, no major tendons or muscles were cut. I just needed a lot of stitches, and I was sent home that very night. The inside of my arm has several large scars on it to this day.
I bring this family legend up today, because the Dangerous Door is back. My parents removed the vestibule door shortly after the accident, and that doorway has been empty for 25 years. This summer, they are planning on selling the family home, so they are fixing everything up. They ordered and installed replacement glass, and my dad re-hung the door last week.
Today my sister and I went over to help out with some stuff, and I saw the Dangerous Door for the first time since the age of eight. I have a vivid memory of that door, which mostly-but-not-completely matches the real thing. I lightly ran my fingertips over the panes of glass I had broken. It seemed like the slightest touch might shatter them once again. I tried opening and closing the door (using the handle this time) a few times, and marveled at its reemergence.
It was creepy to see it again! We all were joking about it, circling it cautiously, even warning the cat to stay away. It certainly made its mark in our family. It is an attractive door though, and it looks good there. It makes the hallway more complete. Just, for the love of God, be careful opening the darn thing, people!