Through the Door…

Weekly Writing Challenge: Through the Door

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?

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“It might have been that one glass of sherry I had too much to drink with an old friend.  Or it might have been a glimpse, like in that beautiful movie “The Family Man” . It might have been stress induced, or the effects of all the medication I need to keep alive while getting older. But, doctor, this is as real to me as you sitting next to this couch, writing everything up I am trying to tell you…

As I stepped through the front door, it felt like I was falling through a swirling vortex…  The next moment I was standing where I was supposed to be- inside my house. But everything changed… The roof was gone. Some roof tiles still was visible on the floor, but obviously they fell a long, long time ago. The floor was covered in inches of dust. The walls that I have painted so patiently for my wife in that special shade of peach, looked exactly like the walls inside the pyramids at Giza– some colour still visible, but most have bean worn off by the ravages of time.  The house was deserted.

I have no explanation for what I have witnessed in my house that day. I panicked, and stumbled to where my bedroom have been, obviously in the good old days.  There, behind what remained of the bathroom door, just a shred of an old calender was still hanging on a rusty nail.  I nearly fainted when I saw the date: 16 Desember 2109.

Somehow I have crossed over to a parallel universe.  Or Einstein was indeed correct, and I stepped by accident into a time wormhole, taking me to the future… I do not pretend to understand the physics involved, as I was just a humble small town English literature teacher…

Where is everybody? What happened in this place? How did I miss the rest of my life, for I could not possibly be 121 years old and still be alive?

There was only one thought in my mind of where any answers might be. In my life, so many years ago, we kept a family journal. And as there was always the possibility of violent crime, I have installed a hidden safety box in our bedroom.

I fell to my knees, and scraped the layers of dirt away in one corner of the room. Yes, it was still there, undisturbed after all these years. The thick plastic travelling box kept out the moisture, and preserved the old hardband school book we used. The rubber seal of the box crumbled as I opened it, but then- it did it’s job and fulfilled it’s purpose…

As I sat down in the dirt, the tears streamed down my cheeks as I opened the old journal, and saw a fading family photo from 2013.  We looked so young and happy then!   But how did I miss the rest of the story?

I read through the pages of 2013. I saw the story of happy times. Of travelling and motorbike trips. Of beautiful meals my wife and I cooked together after catching a few tips on Australian Masterchef.  I saw happy children. I remember that we were not rich in those days, but we had love. And we never went to bed hungry.  Yes, there was love in our house, and that was enough…

I turned the pages through the rest of 2013. And suddenly I could see the change. I wasn’t writing anymore…  it was just my wife’s handwriting. SOmetimes one of the children scribbling- “I miss Daddy, I hope he is safe…”   And finally, around Christmas: “He is gone. He has left us for the young maths teacher…”   Then the entries into the journal became spaced much further apart. No more happy family times.  The story of a family struggling to survive. 2014, 2015, 2016… A faded newspaper clipping of my wedding to the maths teacher…  The children’s report cards- the marks are falling all the time.  A letter from the bank- the house payments are in arrears…  2018- Another newspaper clipping- my son was arrested for beating a man half to death- Assault with the intent to cause bodily harm…

Finally, on the last page- just the words: “We lost everything. The auction is tomorrow morning. I don’t have a clue where to take the children, all hope is lost… You won’t find us…

I turned back into the journal to see where everything went wrong. And there it is, in my own handwriting:  Teacher’s Teambuilding Weekend: 10-12 May 2013- No spouses allowed…

That, doctor, is when I fainted. Because I suddenly remembered! It was all planned already! The airplane tickets, the hotel at the beach, everything paid out of my secret account.   I woke up in bed, next to my wife, on Tuesday 7 May, with the sound of my children’s laughter in my ears as they prepared to leave for school.  My wife gave me a good morning kiss just like on our honeymoon, that first morning after the first night together. That is when I wrote the resignation letter. And now I am here for my exit interview with you- I just have too much to loose… ”

Image

Front door of an old, abandoned house in Spain, somewhere on the last stretch of the Camino de Santiago- 2011

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10 thoughts on “Through the Door…

  1. I know, I know- the film critic’s review of The Family Man can also be applied here- predictable, corny,… but then, I am not a script writer, rather just playing around with words untill they make some sense too me… 🙂

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