Cynthia Vacca Davis

Things That Go Thump at the Door

Reaching for the doorknob could invite anything into your life: you’re about to intersect with a question mark.

An unexpected rap on my front door ranks right behind screeching brakes, clanging alarms, and a three-year-old announcing “I put things in the toilet!” on my personal ranking of scary sounds. There’s something about the thumping of unseen knuckles on the three inches of lumber separating me from who knows what that sends a jolt though my system.

Historically, I have responded to a sudden knocking event by dropping to the floor, tucking into a corner, or holding my breath. There’s zero thought of actually opening the door.

Memes indicate I am not alone.

Uninvited door rappers are scary because they are unknowns. Reaching for the doorknob could invite anything into your life: you’re about to intersect with a question mark.

Intersections can be unnerving and difficult to navigate. At their most basic, they are points of connection; crossroads where collisions, near misses, or chance encounters occur. Some intersections are places of intentional meet-ups. Most intersections are just a point to pass through on a journey to somewhere else. But every so often an intersection is a spot where lives permanently change.

What happens when a teenage girl hits puberty, drops a testicle, grows a penis, develops breasts, gets a period and tells no one? What if thirty years later this person finally confides in an insecure ally who has her own secret: a life-changing promotion with a catch—her signature on a document labeling sexual minorities as “repugnant” and “offensive”?

I explore the answers to these and other questions in Intersexion –my upcoming dual-narrative book coming from Lake Drive Books in 2022. I don’t know what happenstance of algorithm or circumstance caused us to intersect on this page. I can’t know if the questions my book my book probes make you curious, angry, or frightened.

What I do know is that an intersection can come in the form of an invitation. Do I crack the spine; open the door? Do I enter the story on the other side?

Last week my morning was shattered by a resounding thud on my front door. And in a split second decision, I crossed the room and cracked the door an inch (ready, of course to throw my full body weight forward to slam it shut again, because I am brave, not deranged). There was a stranger—of course—on the other side of my door, but he had a disarming smile and a box with my name on it. Inside was surprise gift from my husband that had been tossed in these days of fraught delivery on the side of this man’s street.

And I wonder now, if he was the one who was brave, choosing to enter my story—and I was just someone who cracked the door to receive the gift.

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