A woman remembers her childhood fantasies.
|“A door carved into a tree leads to another world.” I can’t recall if the line was from a poem or a fairy tale or a movie, but I do remember myself as a child running to all the trees in our back fields, searching for some woody perennial entry way. At six years old, I was susceptible to any fantastic image dropped into my little blonde head. After hearing that sentence I could not stop dreaming, more aptly daydreaming, about the majestic worlds found through those doors.|
Back then, I am sure my visions centered around fairy princesses in lacy pink gowns, riding into the sunset on white horses ridden by handsome princes. Thank you Mr. Disney. Surely these new worlds were filled with candy and cookies, dolls and puppies and of course no bedtime or broccoli. Possibly my imagination included my best friend Tracy and a huge ice skating rink, next to a jail occupied solely by our nemesis and constant hair puller Richard. But what else should a little girl imagine? It’s not so bad to believe in the beauty and sweetness of the world when you are too young to be cynical. At that age my world was small. The players consisted of mom, dad, Tim, and our cat Percy. The geography was a frilly room with white canopy bed and too many dolls. Events were daily trips to school, ballet lessons, and skating lessons and of course ice cream runs. Even the trials and tribulations were limited to screams with my brother, arguing over bedtime and the rare scratch by Percy.
Odd to be thinking of that old line now as I sit in my corner office with this giant oak desk. Years of driving for success and stomping my way through the glass ceiling, has paid off. I have made it. I am successful and this is the world I created. It should be enough. Why does that damn sentence keep ringing in my ears?
Perhaps my world has gotten bigger but my desire to find a new, better world continues. This particular door did not lead to the right world. No longer driven by the search for beauty but instead possessed by a desire to escape. I don’t need princes on white horses; they’d probably have ex-wives and mommy issues anyway. Those candies and cookies would just provide more guilt for not hitting the gym frequently enough and barely being able to zip those skinny jeans. Ice rinks need maintenance and little boys pulling hair are simple inconveniences.
I’m too self-centered to dream of world peace and equality for all, or for the elimination of all disease and hunger and people who are simply nice. How would I create this new world? It’s a lottery exercise, one where you think about what you would do if you won the lottery, but this exercise is a bigger, and if possible, a more ridiculous waste of time. I know my new world would be simpler. It would have strong, hot coffee in medium ceramic cups. No venti decaf, skim lattes served by arrogant baristas, just simple black coffee available on demand.
I can’t help thinking that an oak desk comes from an oak tree. Maybe a door has been carved in this very desk. I am not crazy. It would be crazy to not look. After all Cinderella said dreams can come true (when do those Disney images leave your head and memory?). I am sure I can rationalize this. Old, antique desks sometimes reveal lost love letters hidden in secret compartments, letters that may have historic value. I owe it to my country to at least look.
I will simply walk around desk and inspect it. No harm done. Maybe run my fingers across the edges to feel a notch or that secret passage. Odd things happen all the time. I am thinking about black holes, and psychics, of crop circles and cave paintings. I am not crazy; a door carved into a desk can lead to a new world. With a sense of clarity, I realize any such carving would have to be hidden under the desk. I kneel to the floor, Chanel skirt crinkled around my thighs, Jimmy Choos kicked to the side. My hair gets caught in the drawer as I inch my way under the desk. Holding my iPhone with the new flashlight app (I new that would come in handy), I point to the top.
“What are you doing?”
Was that a call from a mystical elf inside my desk? Have I really found something?
“Ms. Baker are you ok?”
Not an elf, simply my administrative assistant Daniel. Think fast.
“Sorry Daniel. I am fine, just dropped something and accidentally kicked it under the desk”, I say. His eyes look skeptical but he comes by to help me up anyway.
“You are expected in the conference room in 5 minutes. Everyone is there”, Daniel notes and walks out.
I pull myself together and realize there is no secret entry way carved in my 1912 desk. There is no other world waiting for me beyond the furniture in this high rise. My other world is simply in my head and through the office door.