I sit cross-legged at the end of a strange corridor.
The wide corridor spans miles and miles and miles from where I sit, my eyes unable to see what lies at the end. Doors after doors after doors, on my left and right, made of magnolia, sandalwood, pine, and teak. Doors on the ceilings and doors on the chessboard-tiled floor. There are doors with broken knobs like those I’d seen in public toilets, doors broken to pieces like one I’d seen in Boo had in Monsters Inc., and Hobbiton doors shaped like perfect circles. There are those weirdly useless doors in taverns of Western spaghetti movies – the doors through which sheriffs made grand entrances. And the hinges of these doors make the worst noise.
All these doors keep opening and closing at such nauseating speed, allowing me to only catch glimpses of what lies behind each of them – snowy mountains, dirty cities, hospital beds, endless fields of sunflowers. To catch with my ears only snippets of conversations, verses of songs, trails of laughs and tears here and there. To smell only bursts of pungent spices, of sea, of incinerating trash, of a freshly bathed puppy. To feel on my skin the drops of rain, flakes of snow, breezes of wind that escaped these doors.
I feel paralyzed, my legs failing to stand up and walk down the corridor and wander closer into any of the door to see, hear, smell, taste, and feel more of what is behind. I feel as If I am ready to sit here at my end of the corridor, for all eternity, exhausting all my senses to catch all these glimpses, all these sensations.
And as I sit there marveled by the corridor full of doors, a cookie materializes on my lap. Written on its surface with icing is the easiest, simplest instruction imaginable in that situation: EAT ME. I take a moment to envy and respect that cookie, a something that knows exactly what it is, its purpose of existing, and what it wants happen to itself. That is, to be eaten. It states that in such a declarative, simple, no-nonsense, I-am-in-charge manner: EAT ME.
I obey and take a bite. Nothing happens. I continue to sit and think and think and think of which doors I should approach first, of how can I go back to enter other doors if I do not fancy the first one, of how I can remember which door I have entered, of how much time I need to spend behind one door before knowing that I need to get moving to another door…
And I sit there, planning and plotting and scheming for the best possible ways to enter all the doors I want to enter, like a mythologized butterfly fluttering in a mysterious algorithmic pattern to most efficiently sip nectar from flower to flower. Suddenly, it seems like the doors start to shrink and shrink and shrink… but I soon realize that it is me who is growing bigger and bigger and bigger.
As I sit there, my body gigantic and my eyes blurred with tears, I see the worlds, all the worlds behind the doors become less vivid and less real and less reachable and… more beautiful.
And I just keep crying and crying and the gallons of my tears drop and drop and drop on the chessboard-tiled floor, morphing into an ocean in which I finally drown, drown, drown.
If it wasn’t obvious enough, I just finished reading The Bell Jar and this post is inspired by / ripped off / emulated from that sad, sad, oh so sad passage with the fig tree.
I recently went to a temple in Bagan, Myanmar, called Ananda Temple which had four different ‘main’ Buddhas for each cardinal direction, the local guy told me each was made of woods of different trees – sandalwood, magnolia, pine, teak. Somehow I wanted the doors to be made of those, because each represent different cardinal direction. (Unfortunately, I was frantically jotting the info down and now couldn’t recall nor read my handwriting about which type of wood was intended for which direction).
And somehow Alice in Wonderland got thrown in the mix.
In addition, I was on bus for about 10 hours today (not willingly but also not unhappily), so I had the luxury of time to read, write, and think. I hadn’t had that for about a month, it feels good.