The Glass Door

Before I knew it, I was crying in front of my entire dance class. Thirty women and two men in neon active wear, staring at me as I tried to explain why I was late.
‘Are you okay?’ a woman with braids asked.
‘The glass door hit me,’ I said, holding my nose. I felt like I was somewhere else.
‘We need to start the class,’ the instructor said.
‘Oh my God you’re bleeding,’ said another girl wearing her jacket.
I looked at my hand and it was covered in blood. I wiped it on my shorts.
The instructor pressed play and Rhianna boomed through the speakers. She led me outside.
‘Can someone help this woman?’ she called to reception.
The receptionist ran over with an icepack.
‘I have to teach my class,’ the instructor said, she limped away.
I hadn’t noticed it before but her knee was surrounded by a blue support sock. The receptionist told me to sit down. She lifted my leg and put it on the table. I told her it was my nose and she laughed.
‘Can I get you anything?’ she said.
She returned with a glass of water. I downed the entire cup, wiping the excess from around my mouth. She wrote down my details on a piece of paper, I could see Thames Water through the other side. A guy came over and said it keeps happening to people. The door is fucked. I just need to keep moving it.
‘My nose?’ I asked.
‘Yeah, wiggle it around.’
I tried but all I could think about was my rabbit, Suzie. Her nose twitched even as she slumbered.
‘I was looking forward to that dance class,’ I said, ‘this is really shit.’
The woman nodded and walked away with my details on a piece of paper. Alone on the chair, I pressed the ice-pack into my nose. My white tank top was splattered with bloody polk-dots. I took a deep breath. I felt the absence of their help and tried to conjure things I needed so they would come and look after me. They were concerned, but they never took my pain on. They were calm and when I didn’t need anything else, they left me. I wanted something from them, that I couldn’t define because it existed in another realm. To give me something I hadn’t asked for. I wanted them to go above and beyond. Make me feel special. Sacrifice something to make me feel better about myself.
But they didn’t.
Mum did that to me. When she was sad, it was my job to take it away. When Dad left, I was responsible for her emotional wellbeing. I’d abandoned myself to care for her.
I walked to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. I wanted to dance. I cleaned my nose and apart from looking red, it was okay. Outside the door, I was about to turn away. I’d cried in front of a class of adults. How embarrassing! However, the urge to dance prevailed. Nobody noticed as I entered and stood at the back. I was out of time and had to catch up, but I was moving and Usher was playing.
After class, the woman with the braids came over.
‘How are you?’
‘Better thanks, thanks for all your concern. Sorry for crying–’
‘Nah, it literally happened to me last week,’ she said, laying down a yoga mat for the next class. ‘I know how you feel.’
‘Do you?’ I said.
‘Glass doors are bullshit, who invented that shit?’
I’d injured myself on a thing I couldn’t see. A door made of something that kept people out of things they wanted to be in. Transparent or opaque? For now, my situation was a little bit clearer.



Kayleigh Cassidy studied Creative Writing at Birkbeck and works as a primary school teacher in London. Kayleigh’s writing explores her neurodiversities: a platform for her queer expression and working classness. She recently won a London Writers Award for her book Tortoise. Her work has been published in TOKEN, 3:AM, Rollick, Myslexia, MIR Online, Shorts, Visual Verse, Underground Overground, Spread the Word’s blog and Erotoplasty. She was shortlisted for The Bridport Prize and in the Streetcake experimental writing prize, Primadonna Award, MIR Folktale award and the DYSPLA Storymakers Residency 2022. Her artwork has been displayed in Lewisham Arthouse and The Brady Arts Centre. She has a comedy podcast called How to Survive your Life.