Today I found an email from August 2006, sent from me (home) to me (work). It was empty, accept for the subject line, which read:
“the smoky reflection is the antiself“
I have no idea where I got the line from, I can’t find any reference to it via Google. However, it is a great line so I used it as inspiration for the 400 words below:
What’s behind the door?
Its three steps away, you could reach out and touch it, and part of you wants to, just to make sure its real and not some malevolent tear in reality, standing there blocking your path in silence. You keep your arms rigidly at your sides however, snapped still in time, and try and make sense of the competing churn of desire and thought in your mind. The truth distills; you don’t have to go through it but returning along the corridor behind you is less inviting, the faded red carpet mockingly laughing with worn-patch grins. The best have stood right there, the gaping mouths taunt, who are you?
You face forward again; tracing your eyes over the intricate patterns which carve seemingly nonsensical paths down the facade like a surfer would a sheer wall of water. The asymmetry is antagonistic as you struggle to find a meaning, an anchor. The paths twist in on themselves, overlap, finish each other’s journey, leave your watery eyes twitching. You sense the depth of the door despite it lying flush with the wall; you imagine the satisfyingly weighty swing, the inexorable motion of centuries old craftsmanship wrought upon this ancient timber. Will it even open?
Beneath the dust, the polished facade smokily reflects a skewered alter ego nervously staring back at you. The face betrays your expectations of this venture; self confidence diminishes in a tightening, vicious circle. Your peripheral vision registers a corruption, a twisted shard in your smoky reflection. It stares back at you, imperfections in the wood twisting a knowing smile into its mouth. Your reflected eyes crease slightly at the corners in the beer stained haze but follow you perfectly, never breaking contact.
Eager to hold onto your remaining, tepid courage your eyes fall upon the hinges, conspicuous in their starlight shining newness, held fast by solid screws freshly chewing into the wood. They’ve been changed recently. Beneath your feet the carpet has worn down to a blackened smudge on the floor, but just a step in front of you it appears pristine, plush and daringly inviting. You feel the gentle tugging of pride, nothing more than a whispered suggestion that you are better than this spot, that an extra step makes all the difference but will cost you nothing. The suggestion, more forceful now, just a step, just a little step, comes from over your shoulder. You don’t turn around.
You step forward.