I created worlds to escape into, when the gunshots rattled and the arguments simmered then boiled over like the pot of boxed mac N cheese on the stove mom forgot about because she was dragged into a yelling match with dad, I shrunk into myself, became a vehicle, turned the engine on and headed towards a light that I hoped would help navigate me to a distant dimension.
Upon arrival to this place, this place I had no yet named. This place I refer to as going away… I was excited but also filled with anxiety… will I create a good enough world? Will things be safe, unlike my neighborhood that adults refer to as a ghetto? Will there be no such things as drugs or disease? No funerals burying friends? No sorrows?
I had a lot to discuss with myself as I constructed the landscape of my new world.
I approached the gold shimmering gates that were so blinged out it hurt my eyes looking at them, it was as if I were looking at the sun. The gates appeared to be so high I could not see which galaxy the top of the gate extended into. I know it was far off and beyond what I could ever imagine. Maybe it goes into the infinite, the never ending.
Things always end where I am from. Friendships, love, life. Things stop and they don’t go on forever like the glittery gates at this place. In the material world, we even make up places endings go to when they stop being, when they stop living. Things like heaven and hell. Which I always thought was a bit contradicting because if we believe in endings, how is it that they are allowed to go somewhere else? To end is to cease to exist right? If uncle Bobby’s life ended and he went to heaven, it didn’t really end, it just went somewhere else.
I wanted to go somewhere else, especially when the claws of the material world pounced at me and threatened to pierce my young and tender skin.
Nightmares were a relief to reality sometimes, even monsters chasing me in my sleep were less terrifying than police, gang bangers and the god-awful rattling of guns and the lingering smoke left from drugs being devoured by those who want nothing more than immediate relief from reality. Addicts just wanted to get out of this place… who could blame them?
My trembling hands reached out to touch the knobs of the golden gates.
But I was rudely interrupted by the guardsmen at the door who took their jobs a little too seriously.
“Wait just one-minute little lady! Don’t move!”
I replied confused
“What is it, I’ve arrived, I am ready to create my corridors”
The guards looked at me laughing… then begin speaking to me in a shrieking high-pitched voice…
“You bridge people are hilarious, show me your papers doll!”
I rolled my eyes and shook my head with confusion. “I don’t have any papers, what papers?”
The guardsmen appeared irritated with my ignorance and retorted…
“My story I made up?” I replied confusingly.
The guard impatiently answered, “Yes! Or you can return back to the other side and deal with the degenerates you call family.” They both laughed like witches tilting their heads back while their overly pronounced long noses shot up into the air forcing me to see things I’d rather not.
I could see the curly hair in their nostrils smothered in boogers and I couldn’t take any more observation of their self-important demeanor. Like everyone else, they thought they were better than me. I reached into my jeans and pulled out a crumpled piece of paper and reluctantly handed it to the guards. I didn’t want them, or anyone else for that matter to know about my stories and the things I make up.
The guardsmen finally stopped laughing and put my story into their pockets and stuffed it far down into their camouflage pants as if I would never get it back again.
“Okay now, can I get through please” I quietly demanded, tapping my pink, pinky the princess sneakers against the slick silver pavement.
The guardsmen replied angrily,
“No! first, you need to drop your luggage, nothing from that awful place in which you live shall ever, ever, never be brought past these gates!”
I replied shaking my head in refusal, “But, But” I stuttered…
“These are my things, the things I will transform from the other side into something good on this side. I am Goddess of Transmutation. Princess Alchemy, I need my things, I need to fix them, I need to change them here, past those gates, they will be rebuilt into something fantastic!”
The guards looked touched by my plea but refused to allow the sympathy they felt for me to override their prestigious position as guardsmen. “Come here little bridge girl person, come on, let me see your ear. We cannot go against policy; you can’t bring your stuff here it will contaminate our environment. Perhaps if you are who you say you are, little bridge girl, use your alchemy in front of our very eyes now! Show us transmutation! Transform your baggage to make it allowable in the Imagine X Kingdom now!”
I was taken back by their demands.
The truth is I wasn’t ready. I didn’t know if I could spontaneously pull it off. On the other side of the bridge, I had to be running from something to access the powers they are now asking me to show them in this very moment. I had to transform from a girl into an escapist, turn on my imagination and walk into a story I construct.
In that moment, from that very thought, I believe I may have put it all together, the pieces of the puzzling puzzle! So, I think! The story was the doorway to the other side but how could I continue the journey if I am creating characters that challenge me? The gatekeepers only exist because I put them there.
What self-imposed test am I demanding myself to take? Why won’t I allow myself on the other side of the gate?
To be continued…
By Janell Hihi