Breaking Down

Whilst digging through some old flash-drives, I found one of my old creative writing pieces from the first semester of my final year of college, in 2012. Just thought I’d share it because the memory made me laugh. For reference, I’m now 24, and I was 20 when this was written. 


Some mornings I wake up ready for the day, and some mornings I end up locked in my bathroom with no means of escape.

I have lived alone for a year now. It’s been a relatively stress-free experience, save for a few security-alarm system snafus and several instances of burned dinner setting off the fire smoke alarm. But one morning, after finishing my two-mile run, I took a shower, but when I went to leave the bathroom, I realized the door was locked.

The alarming part is that the door does not even have a lock.

I stared at the doorknob for a good thirty seconds, shocked. I yanked on it, turning it as hard as I could, but it was stuck. The reality hit me. This is where I’m going to die.

After five minutes, I realized the door was not going to open – so I opened the bathroom window, pulled the screen up and leaned out into freedom. It was still semi-dark outside, and, at about 6:45AM it was very cold – and I was in a ‘Yankees Suck’ T-shirt and old track shorts, with no shoes or socks.

I wanted to cry.

The window is small enough that a child of about five or six can crawl through easily. Since I am not a five or six year old child, I faced a bit more difficulty. After several feeble attempts, I was able to slide myself out the window – bad leg first – and I cautiously leapt onto my air conditioning unit. Unfortunately, it was too cold outside for me to fully appreciate my ninja-like moves. I ran back into the house, and the first thing I did (after discovering that the door was stuck on the outside as well) was call my dad to explain the situation.

After he stopped laughing, he gave me his permission to break the door if necessary. Given my history of broken appliances and such – an extensive list which includes 3 printers, a microwave, and a coffee maker – it was probably going to happen regardless of whether or not he gave his blessing.

For the next hour, I took a hammer and a screwdriver to the door. It was futile – mainly because I have the arm strength of a wet noodle, though I did succeed in punching several holes in the wood. It became increasingly clear to me that I was going to have to go back in from the outside. I was going to have to launch myself back into the tiny, claustrophobia-inducing bathroom.

I trooped back outside, grabbed a ladder from the garage, put it against the side of the house, and vaulted myself back through the window, hammer and screwdriver in hand. Head-first, horribly ungraceful, and extremely grateful that none of my neighbors were awake to see it.

I took the hinges off the door, and it finally started to weaken. But it was still jammed. If there had been a table in the bathroom, I would have flipped it. Enraged, I manned up, channeled my inner MacGyver, and pulled the door as hard as I could, splintering part of the wood, and breaking the latch – which had been the whole source of the trouble. The door fell on me – but I was so happy I ignored the pain and let out a strangled victory cheer.

I called my dad with the joyous news – his first question was, “Did you break the door?” and my jubilant response was, “WHO CARES DAD, I’M FREE.” I also promised to pay for a new door, since we are selling the house in the spring, and a door-less bathroom is not exactly a selling point.

Despite the fact that I am a twenty year old college senior who lives alone, has two jobs, and does her own grocery shopping, I have never really felt like an adult. I’m not registered to vote, I can barely drive, and I still wake up early to watch Spongebob Squarepants. I have always been haunted by that question: When am I going to grow up? When will I start to feel in control of my destiny? When does that independence begin?

I can now say that the moment I began to feel grown up was a Friday, early in the morning, when I broke myself out of a locked bathroom. Not exactly ground-breaking in the grand scheme of things, but certainly a door-breaking moment – Past Allie probably would have curled up on the tile and cried. I am finally growing up.

…Although the first thing I did after getting free was pour myself a bowl of cereal and turn on Spongebob Squarepants.


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