I had been here before, a long time ago. Something tickled against my body, and I shivered. My foot found it’s way onto the old metal staircase without my mind telling it to. The echo sounds just like it might if I’d stepped on rock in a dank cave somewhere in the deep jungles of the world. Here, surrounded by the graffiti of activists past, I find my hand pressing along the cold, sticky railing.
Up, up, up, I turn, following the staircase with single minded intention. What would I find at the end? What was it that tickled my memory so, that made me desperate to remember, deeply wanting to find out. That strange tickle at the bottom of my belly had started up again.
The one that always told me to go through the small hole at the bottom of that fence next to the abandoned house. The feeling that had me going down alleys that had gates at the end of them. The sense of something great being just behind a locked door, one with wrought iron hinges and stained glass. That same hope, that maybe, just maybe, this time, something wonderful would happen.
This door, instead, was rusted, and leaning at a tilt that let light come through the door. It’s handle was cold and rough against my palm, and I wanted to squeeze it harder. My chest felt tight, something wrong and right all at the same time. I had been here, once. So long ago that I can barely remember it. What was behind this door? What had I forgotten so completely that it filled me with such excitement at the idea of seeing it again?
The shriek of the door’s opening was louder than my heartbeat. Everything whited out. The smell of clean air. The rustle of soft leaves. I pushed past the sudden glare of sun. When my eyes stopped watering, I saw it all.
The beautiful green garden that I suddenly remembered with a clarity so sharp it felt like a knife’s edge. Grown wild now, with no one to tend it, it exploded across the building’s roof, and down the sides of the walls. I remembered now, the old woman with the soft eyes, her scarred lips laughing. I remembered the afternoons I’d come here, hoping for adventure, and never being let down. She’d told me so many stories. So many happy endings, and cliffhanging heroes.
My eyes watered again, this time, at the remembrance of childhood. This time, I let them drip down my cheeks, a solemn wake for a time long lost to me. A time just discovered again. Now, I set out. For a new adventure. Perhaps this time, it would be I who told the tales, who picked the jewel-like berries and pressed them into jam and drink for curious children.
Kicking off my shoes, I began my next adventure.
This peice was written in response to Daily Post’s current Build Your Own writing challenge. They inspired us to pick a picture, and an opening line. This, is what I came up with. Upon hearing the opening line, I immediately thought of all the wonder that accompanies discovering something you once knew. And so, this grew out of it.