The Thing I Like About …

No One Lives: when she realizes the door was never locked.

In No One Lives, the bad-guy imprisons a girl, keeping her in a locked cell – and sometimes in the trunk of his car – for months. We watch in flashbacks as he enters the cell and closes the door behind him; he tells her that if she kills him, she’ll starve to death in the cell since no one knows that either of them is there and he hasn’t brought the keys in with him. Then he cuts his own throat, and waits for her to save him. Does she save him because she doesn’t want to watch a man die? It would be hard, perhaps, to watch someone die, even if he was an evil man; she’s not evil, after all. Does she save him because she doesn’t want to die? – without his keys, she’d be trapped in the cell, and no one would ever know to come look for either of them. For whatever reason, she saves him. He lays there, recovering from his self-inflicted wound, and tells her that she’s chosen to be his victim. She disagrees. He gets up and walks out of the cell, through a door that had been unlocked the whole time.

She could have walked out with no trouble.

What does that mean? Well, for the girl, it means that the bad guy locks the door again and keeps the girl trapped for a long, long time.

For us?

Well, for us, I think it’s a call to look around us – at our problems, our attitudes, our goals, our suffering, our plans and dreams, our future, our happiness. We should examine our excuses, our reasons, our motivations, our assumptions … our fears.

How many of our metaphorical doors are actually unlocked? How many of our choices and actions and feelings are based on “realities” that don’t actually exist? How many of us, at any time, could just turn from the situation (internal or external or both) that we’re in … and just walk right out the door?

How many of us are in prisons of our own making?

You may be thinking: “Well, I’m not that girl! If I were in that situation, I would have let him die and just found a way out of the cell somehow. If I were in that situation, I would try the door.”

All right, then.

But you’re not in this extraordinary situation, filled with dramatically enhanced moral dilemmas. You’re not being locked in a trunk every other day by a madman. You’re not faced with the terrible choice of letting another human being die or not. Compared to this scenario, your life is … easier.

Easier to live. Easier to fix.

Whatever limits you’re facing, there (probably) isn’t a serial killer bleeding to death between you and the door to your freedom. You don’t even have to step over the body, or fish through his pockets for the key.

The doors have all been unlocked the whole time.

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