Beyond the Right Door

The doors stretch to the left and right, as far as you can see. They fade into the distance, seeming to become smaller until they disappear altogether. You strain your eyes and shudder at the uncanny, stark empty feeling of the white room, void and featureless.

It would help if you could remember how you got here but the last thing you remember was the wreck. You look at your left hand, which had been severed as jagged metal from your own beat up truck cut through it. The blood had spurted, and you had...

Died?

"Is this purgatory?" You ask your guide, but when you turn to face him you find yourself alone. You can't remember his face, and as even his form is fading from your mind, until only the impression of a comforting being remains.

The doors seem to stretch to infinity, or at least farther than you can see. The one directly in front of you is white, with a cheery pink and white welcome mat. The brass knob is cold and unyielding. It is not your door. As you step away it turns into a solid oak door, unremarkable and unwelcoming.

You start working your way to the right, making a mental note of the welcome mat so that you can start there and move to the left if you reach the end without finding your door.

If there is an end.

Hours later - nothing. Old doors, new doors, doors rotting and barely hanging on their hinges - none will open for you.

You smile as you reach an old door with a whimsical painting of a clown. Running your hand over the door brings back good memories. When you were a child your grandparents owned a wooden cabin in the mountains. You loved going there, and you could swear that this was the same door that had greeted you every summer. It's made of worn oak, just as you remember. As you turn the knob it grows warm and you can hear the ooo-ga! of a clown horn.

Your grandfather had owned a circus, and even though your parents never allowed you to travel with them, you dreamed of it all through your childhood. The romance of the circus lured you, but by the time you were old enough to make your own decisions you had become more practical, and college was more alluring – if less exciting – than the circus.

The door opens, and you see a pasture with festive wagons, banners waving in the wind. The wagons were brightly painted and one of them – bright yellow and standing out as the lead wagon – had large, black words painted on it that said, "Ogden's Traveling Spectacular." It was the name of your grandparents' circus.

A soft breeze blows across the green grass dotted with small yellow flowers. You smell food cooking. As you sniff you smell meat and cabbage, and it reminds you of your grandmother. She could make the best stuffed cabbage you ever ate, and the memory of her placing the steaming plates of tomatoey goodness in front of you made you happy and sad at the same time.

The sounds of tigers and elephants are intriguing, luring you with promises of exotic adventures. A dwarf approaches you with outstretched arms, and you can't help but smile at his old fashioned vest and top hat. You never thought you'd see your grandfather again, yet here he is, followed by circus performers and carnies.

They begin to chant. "We accept you. We accept you. One of us. One of us." They had adopted the old movie line, first ironically and then warmly.

You smile and close the door behind you.