It is Up to You- Writing 101- Day 10
I stood staring ahead of me. Directly in front was three large doors. Each was set flush into the wall, the only thing making them stand out was a slight sliver light glowing from around the edges. Each had no other decoration but a black knob waiting for a hand to grasp its cool surface and give it a turn to reveal what was inside. Three doors that sat waiting for me to make a decision.
Only problem was, was what decision was I supposed to be making? I had literally no idea how I had gotten to where I was right now. One minute I was settling down for a nap, a nap that hopefully would rejuvenate my exhausted beyond comprehensible thought mind, and the next minute I was standing here confused beyond words.
I was dead. That was the only explanation. I had died in my sleep and now I had to choose my eternity. One was heaven, one was hell and one was purgatory. My choice could doom me, make me live in bliss forever or I could end up in no mans land with nothing. I didn’t move, this was all too much. I didn’t want to be dead and I absolutely didn’t want to suffer for eternity.
“Whoa, take a deep breath. If you pass out my jobs becomes kind of pointless. Hard to show you something when you are unconscious,” A voice called from somewhere high above me. My head snapped up, desperately searching for the source.
“I’m right here. Don’t strain your neck,” the speaker was no longer an echo, but now it was right beside me. A man’s voice, calm yet strong. I looked to my right and felt my mouth drop open and my breath catch in my throat. Standing beside me was the most handsome man I had ever set my two eyes upon. He had a face that wouldn’t have looked out of place on a greek god statue. He had a few strands of his chocolate brown hair hanging over his eyes, making him look playful. He was smiling showing a full set of bright white teeth. His eyes were wide as well but they didn’t match the rest of him. They are all business.
“You still with me?” the man asked.
“Uh…,” I tried to find my words. They were there, hovering on the edge of my brain. Right now though the only words my mouth wanted to say was “Pretty,” while drooling or “Huh?” while staring confused yet still entranced.
“Okay, let me start and you can jump in whenever you get your brain back in order,” he strode forward, trend his back to the doors and said. “Here we have three doors. Each holds a moment, a moment that means something to you. Behind these three doors you will find three meals. Three meals that define a part of you,” As I listened my brain restarted itself. I felt myself start to chuckle, he sounded like a game show host explaining the prizes.
“Okay kind of random but continue,” I said. His behavior had eased my initial reaction to his looks.
“Oh so she can actually articulate full sentences. Good to see,” He joked, giving me a smirk. I resisted the urge to flick him off. “Alright, we will continue on. Behind door number one we have Christmas dinner, the last one with your grandfather,” he walked over and opened the door farthest to the left.
Inside I glimpsed our family packed around the table. Not an extra inch to spare. Elbows, forks and plates kept hitting each other over and over. The danger of having half the meal on the floor was always hovering over the table. Getting up from your spot was a process. You placed you arms as close to you as possible, pushed out the chair as far as it would go and stood straight up. Careful not to take a step to the left or right. Then you turned around, giving the family a view none of them wanted while eating and got up onto your chair. Using all your hand-eye coordination you stepped over the back of the chair and hopped down to the floor. Fifteen years and no one had yet to end up back first onto of the table.
Despite the cramped space we were all smiling wide. Laughs and chatter filled the room. Smiles and laughs to an outsider that looked all happy and perfect, like some family off of a Hallmark movie. But if you looked closely and truly listened to the surroundings you would be able to see how fake it all was. Smiles fell seconds after they appeared and the laughter was hallow. None of us could keep the sadness from intruding this meal. It was tough rejoicing when you knew what was going to be coming soon.
The door slammed shut. I jumped, not prepared to lose the image so quickly.
“You could have warned me,” I huffed, wiping a single tear from my eye. “Okay so that was depressing. Thanks, I needed that. Next?” I asked. I was never good at keeping harsh sarcasm from my voice.
He rolled his eyes at me, as if he was used to my snarky remarks. I shrugged at him, what did he want from me? I had no idea what was the point of all this. I still didn’t even know if I was dead or not. Maybe I was in the process of slipping away?
“Next,” his voice kept the thought from developing into anything. “We have a birthday. Not yours, you mothers. Just the five of you enjoying a nice Mexican dinner out. Calm and simple,” he grinned at me like he knew secret. He opened the middle door.
I knew what was coming before the knob had even been turned. On the other side sat anything but a simple and calm meal. My parents , my two brothers and me were laughing so hard tears were streaming down our cheeks. We were flapping our hands like seals. Speaking wasn’t an option right now. We just let out loud guffaws every few seconds when we got enough oxygen into our lungs. How the manager didn’t come over and ask us to settle down and stop acting like crazy people I would never know?
Why were we laughing so hard we were all in danger of passing out? Some random joke. A joke that no one would find nearly as funny as we did. It was one of those you had to be there moments. Something about throwing ice cream at the ceiling and escaping the angry restaurant owner.
The laughter brought smile to my face I felt the laugh bubbling up inside my stomach. A chuckle escape me just as the handsome yet irritating man slammed the door shut. My laughter died instantly replaced my annoyance.
“What are you doing?” I snapped. “What is the point of all of this?” I was getting anxious. If I was dead could he just say it already? Did we have to go through this weird ass process? I couldn’t do much more of this back and forth emotion thing.
“Last one,” he didn’t even attempt to explain. I waved him on, knowing that if I opened my mouth certain swear words would make their-selves present. One left, then this whole irritating thing would be over.
He opened the door to chaos. I felt my eyes squint as the assault of images and colors before me. Random snapshots of people. Some I knew, some I had never seen in my life. All laughing, crying or shouting at each other in anger around some dinner table. Not one image stayed long enough for me to get an understanding of what was happening. Just enough time for me to take in the emotion and faces before everything was swapped around again.
“Enough,” I shouted covering my eyes. He loved slamming that door shut and now he held it open? Really? I felt the point behind my eyes begin to throb while my stomach churned. I heard the click of the door and knew it was safe to look ahead of me again.
The mystery man, who I no longer wanted to get to know in anyway, was leaning on the last door, arms crossed.
“So?” I asked. I was waiting for him to break down the whole experience. Where was my explanation? How this was all about some grand design. Where was the call for my choice that could change my life? I was waiting for the existential part of all of this.
“So?” he shrugged.
“Am I dead?”
“Dead? I don’t know,” he shrugged again.
“You don’t know? How can you not know? You brought me here. Gave me this weird glimpse into my life and now I have to choose right? I have to make a decision about what path I want to take. Each of these moment means something,” I pointed at each door. “Choice of life of happiness, hidden sorrow or the unknown? Right!?”
“How the fuck should I know?” he shook his head and shrugged again. I wanted to snap those shoulder off of him. “I’m not real.”
“Seriously? That doesn’t actually tell me anything. You could be a dream or the last ditch efforts of my dying brain to make sense of the world and my life,” I said.
“I could be, yep,” he slid down the door, leaned his head back and closed his eyes. “That is up to you. Let me know when you have the answer.”
I walked over and sat down beside him. I leaned my head onto his shoulder. “What if I don’t feel like coming up with an answer?”
“That is up to you,” he said, his shoulder vibrating as he spoke.
“Good, cause I’m tired. I’ll figure this all out sometime later,” I closed my eyes. Maybe I was dying or maybe I was dreaming and I would wake up only able to grasp at pieces of this story. Then again maybe my mind had snapped finally and I was awake in some padded room living inside of hallucination. So many maybes to sort through. I felt my breath getting more even. It could wait until later.
The last thing I saw before “sleep,” over took me was five people laughing so hard they couldn’t even begin to speak.