A Tire Swing Story is a bite-sized "imagining" inspired by an object I discover while wandering. It could be a curbside trash gem or a message sprayed on a wall. A lost mitten, or an antique store find. Anything goes. I photograph the object and post them together, the story and its inspiration. There will be a new story every Monday and Wednesday. On Fridays, I'll discuss writing, life, love, and coffee. (In no particular order and maybe all at once.)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Stewart Rumple collects doors. Saturday mornings, he examines the newspaper and circles garage sale listings that look promising. He maps out a route in his head. He will take his bicycle. He's rigged it up to carry the doors home.

Sometimes people stare at the man pedaling a rusted red bicycle with a door lashed to it by bungee cords. Stewart doesn't care. 

It started after Lee died. She'd never have put up with this kind of thing. He often marvels at how much he misses her chiding him about this or that. Now no one cares what Stewart does with himself. 

"And look what's happened, Lee-Lee," Stewart says aloud, his voice booming in the garage where he keeps his doors, "I've turned into an absolute nutter."

They'd all told him to meet someone new. Even Lee, before she went said: "Love, there's no use moping around when I'm gone. You just find somebody to care for you. It's--" Her speech dissolved into a fit of coughing. 

Two years have passed, and all Stewart can bring himself to do is get those doors. He imagines that each one opens onto a different reality.

Door one: He's five years old and has just caught a small brown frog. He holds it cupped in his palms and can feel the quivering little life inside his grip. 

Door two: He's thirteen years old and sitting in the passenger seat of his father's car. There is music on the radio, the Beach Boys, "Help me Rhonda."  The sound of the music feels exactly like sunshine.

Door three: He's sixteen and riding his bike down a hill. He removes his hands from the handlebars and stretches out his arms. 

Door Four. Five. Six. Seven.

Keep going. 
Stewart doesn't care what everybody says. He won't stop looking until he finds a door that leads back to her. 


  1. Oh Brittany, This one is unbelievably sad. As I was reading it, I did not expect the ending to be what it was. I literally gasped at the final sentence. It was so sad. I could just picture this man's house filling up with old doors.
    Please find an agent quick!!!!!

  2. I'm with Sue, you are talented Madam.

  3. There isn't a dry eye in this room. You've got to know pain to write about it like this and make us feel so much. Thank you for being so open.