Monday, February 12, 2007

Secret Rooms

Lately I've been dreaming about secret rooms again. A recurring dream that I have, in which suddenly and inexplicably, I discover rooms I've never seen before in a house that I have lived in for years.

In my dreams, this discovery never disconcerts me and I wind my way through a corridor leading to these rooms as if nothing about this is peculiar. I feel déjà vu, as if I've always known that these rooms existed, even though they do not.

The rooms are usually lavish and expansive but in a run-down sort of way. The word that comes to mind is haunted.

Often this mysterious section of the house looks lived in, but as if it was suddenly abandoned. Clothes thrown haphazardly on the sofas slip to the ground. Tea-cups sit on coffee tables leaving behind blemishes in the wood. I usually feel a mixture of elation at the discovery, and dread because I'm afraid that the tenants will suddenly appear again and find me here---trespassing.

Last night's dream was a variation on this theme.

I'm living in an apartment with my parents, and find in the back of the apartment, a set of rooms that I've never seen before. I explore these rooms and my cat comes with me.

The rooms themselves are vague in my memory until I reach a messy bedroom with beautiful floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides. Late afternoon sunshine streams through the partially open blinds and a glance outside reveals a well-kept neighborhood lined with tall trees. The cat explores this room, and together we discover a door.

The door is ornate. There is a panel of opaque glass outlined in cast iron in the upper portion of the door. It looks as if someone is behind the door. But I know this is not true, because there is a large gap between the door and the floor as if someone had cut off the bottom of the door. I know there is no one behind the door, because I do not see their legs.

I hesitate, standing there gazing at the door. And the cat makes the decision for me, as she saunters through the opening.

As I open the door, I am faced with a stairs leading down, and a hallway to my left. I hear footsteps coming up the stairs and I realize that I am not alone.

I grab the cat and retreat into the safety of the bedroom. I close the door and bolt it and it dawns on me that that I did not have to unbolt it before ---which means that it has always been unlocked.

This disturbs me, but it is not the source of my unease, for all my attention is focused on the large gap between this door and the floor. Large enough for my cat to escape from the comfort of my arms, and large enough for a person to crawl through. This gap fills me with horror.

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