miércoles, 9 de octubre de 2019

THE PURPLE DOOR



  They say I am a very sharp-eyed person; the slightest change o variation in the things I see around me rarely escapes my attention. Now, give it a thought: if you live in a monster city such as Buenos Aires and boast about having this arguably neurotic ability perhaps it would be better to  keep it to yourself. Anyway, I have come to terms with this city’s chaos, even when it comes to traffic. I dread driving to my studio, I simply walk for almost twenty minutes every day or use public transports. Every single day, same path, same buildings, same lights and, of course, same people. Everything is as familiar to me as the way my working stuff is arranged on my desk . Until today.


          The purple door stands a few doors before I reach my studio’s door. I don't really know what  there is behind it. Is it a kind of small theatre, a club or a brothel? I don’t have the foggiest. I have always seen it locked with a huge padlock, but not today, the door was ajar. "Who’s about to emerge from inside: Nosferatu or a flamboyant, fortune-teller gypsy?" I chuckled to myself.  Why I did not keep on walking, but paused right before that door, I’m still wondering.  My eyes became fixed on the narrow patch of darkness until they caught sight of the most bewildering thing.
         Half a frightened face poked out of the purple door briefly a single time, which made me jolt.  “Am I going insane or that face looked like mine?” I stammered. It was such a shock that I nearly took to my heels. But some strange, irresistible force compelled me to get in past that door.
     I wish I were the character in Guy de Maupassant's story Who Knows, to be able to tell at ease the strangest story that could ever happen to someone; in my case,  how the person who had been hiding behind that purple door was swapped by the entering “me”, this taking place in a pitch dark space. Yes, because somehow I had entered that place.  All my recent memories had been completely wiped out.  Now I felt that I was simply, naturally, this other person, someone who had been trapped there for an indefinite length of time, until he (or rather I) noticed that the door was all of a sudden unlocked. And when I or he ---either could be the case--- eventually plucked up the courage to face the dazzling daylight and the traffic din of the street, this mirror-like confronting took place. How come? One “me” breaking free from that timeless darkness at last and another one being sucked in by spell of the purple door and its lock. 
      Now, I'd hate to kill the mystery at this point by telling you  something I worked out  while lying in bed. It was like an epiphany.  Some years ago, walking along the pavement where this story took place, I was pushed hard against this purple door by a car out of control. I always believed that I had remained unconscious on the threshold, where they found me, but this peculiar hiatus about being trapped behind the purple door today caused all the pieces to fall into place. Perhaps now I understand the meaning of a recurring nightmare about struggling desperately to break free from a crypt. The door had been ajar when the car made me hit it. I’d been  inside for an instant, dreading to die there and then in the dark, so  I must have dragged out toward the light, in spite of the hellish traffic that terrified me as well! But this horrific bit of memory had become sunk into oblivion and today was retrieved in the strangest of fashions.
      My shrink told me that what happened is something to do with losing track of reality for a while. According to him, I’ve never walked in past the purple door for a second time. However, I’d say that not always everything can be accounted for. So should something alike ever happen to you, start scanning your fears and your dreams. As for me, I don’t think the nightmare about being trapped in a crypt will ever haunt me again.


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