21 of 31 - SOLSC 2019
The front door opens and closes. "Who's here?" I ask.
With a voice that is stronger than makes sense, as I hear the sobbing underlying the sounds, my daughter says her name. I am flying down the stairs, scenarios running through my head. Is there blood or damaged bones? Did the usual supportive group of girls turn mean? Did someone do something inappropriate?
Seeing no blood nor any body part she is clutching, I wrap my arms around her helmet clad body that is gasping for air through her sobs.
"What happened?" I ask.
Through the nearly hysterical sobbing all I can gathering is something about the squash court and getting locked in and someone finally coming by to let her out. I sit and gathering her onto my lap, hugging and soothing as her breathing slows down and the sobbing subsides. She is safe. She is home.
We can't immediately go investigate the scene as I have a four year old over for a playdate - giving him a chance to be out of his house. He's been cooped up with asthma issues, including several nights at the hospital. There is also a newborn at home, so a change of scenery and some attention paid just to him is helpful to everyone. "Can we send him home?" my daughter asks.
Immediately weighing the needs of both children, I ask the four year old to go try three cars on the race track we have been assembling while I have my daughter head to her room - where she can close the door. I am fully aware that I have an only child; her need for the walls of her house to be her refuge is apparent.
Once it is just the two of us I ask if she wants to go take a look at the squash courts. A vigorous nod as she quickly heads to put her shoes on answers my question. Her explanation of the scene is that the outside of the door has a handle. Once inside she closed the door to contain her ball, but when she went to leave she realize there is no lever on the inside, thus she was stuck. Crying and screaming for help, she banged on the glass until a worker appeared and let her out.
We walk across the compound, hand in hand, her telling me about where she rode and parked her scooter, which door she used to enter the building - in essence, she is revisiting the events that led up to her terror.
"He closed the door again, once he let me out," she says as I approach the horizontal bar that is the handle. Pushing down, the door swings in easily. I take a couple of steps - she remains rooted outside. Examining the inside panel I realize what has happened, test my theory, and then show it to her while I explain.
"They can't have a handle sticking out on the inside because squash can be very physical, with people bouncing off the walls to make their plays. In order to keep the players safe they have made the surface flat, but if you pull this ring up you can turn it and it turns the knob."
Her shoulders relax, as the tension drains from her body - there is a way out. She closes the door, with me on the inside, watching from the outside as I demonstrate the theory I have explained. As I open the door she steps in, trying for herself.
We hug and walk home, hand in hand, talking about I'm not sure what.