The door to your house/flat/apartment/abode has come unstuck in time. The next time you walk through it, you find yourself in the same place, but a different time entirely. Where are you, and what happens next?
A single stream of sunlight sneaked through the crack in the door as I gently pushed the aged panel of wood ajar. Confused yet intrigued, my first step into the room was less than tentative as I embraced what possibilities lay ahead.
Looking around the dusty dilapidated living room it was tinged with familiarity, but at the same time I could not recognise my surroundings. The windows streaked with dirt and condensation obscured my view to the outside but let enough light in to be able to finally realise that I lived here. Once.
For a moment, my heart was tinged with sadness, but for myself? Or for this forgotten place that once held so many happy memories? Maybe both in fact. Continuing to look around in more detail now I spotted a singular box tucked into the corner. Moving toward the box, the boards underfoot creaked and sighed slowly, weary and tired.
Sitting down crossed legged I pulled the box to me, a torrent of dust spiralled up to the ceiling, the fractured sunlight casting shadows that danced around the walls. Peering into the box I discovered a photo album. The edges tattered and damaged, the gold lettering on the cover peeled and incomplete. Once again, recognition. Taking a deep breath I opened the cover.
Baby photos, mine to be exact. No mistaking those. Amazing how a single image can evoke so much emotion and memory from a time long gone. A freeze frame of time, encapsulated forever. I pressed on through the album, my school photographs, proud and happy in my uniform, innocent and smiling. Further on, into my late teens, photographs of holidays, time with my friends, places I had forgotten but faces I couldn’t ever forget.
As the album came to the middle, it dawned on me how many pages I had left to look through. Yet, these latest pictures I could see contained memories of recent times, like last Summer in the park, the music concert in the city, my birthday meal…. Something inside me hesitated as my hand lingered on the page, unsure whether turning it over was the right thing to do….
Looking up from the page and once again at my surroundings, I realised that there was only one right decision. I sighed, smiled lightly to myself, and closed the album. Placing it gently back into the box I stood back up and dusted off my backside, slapping my hands together to clear those too. I took a few more moments in this room to gather my thoughts, reflect.
It was time. I was ready to go back through the door. I guess people would ask me if I told them about this, “why didn’t you look ahead, were you not in the least bit curious as to what you would have seen?”
And I would tell them, “Yes, of course I was curious, but in that room, I remembered and cherished my past. Which in turn made me appreciate the present and what I have now. To cheat all that, and look beyond at what is yet to come….that is not my choosing.”
It is important to look forward to the future, and part of that is having the unknown ahead of us. Something to be excited about, something to live for. And that is why I had absolutely no regrets when I gently pulled that old wooden door to, and heard the lock click tight. I was happy.
I was ready for tomorrow.
© Matthew T. Aspden