Originally schoolwork. It says a lot about the mind frame I was in to be honest, at the time. "If only dying was as simple as walking through a door."
Aren’t I naughty? I’ve run away from Nanny! I don’t want Nanny anymore. I want to be free, like the birdies that tweet on my windowsill in the morning. I want to explore my palace. Nanny won’t let me into one of the rooms; it’s this strange room on the top floor that she says has things I don’t want to see inside. That’s impossible though, and anyway, I want to see everything. Now, the door to the room is in front of me: the old, wooden door that I’m not allowed through. I’m jogging up the stairs with the dusty red carpet and the door is just there. My hand is reaching out to the door handle, touching it, turning it... And now it’s creaking open towards me. I am walking in. I gasp in amazement... So much to take in at once, so much... The room is almost completely black. It’s weird though, when I look up, it’s even blacker and it just keeps on going. There doesn’t seem to be a ceiling. It’s like an upwards tunnel. I think it’s spooky.
That’s not it though. Right in front of me, there’s a door. A really tall door made of stone that seems to glow like the snow reflecting light on a cold winter’s night. There’s this weird writing all the way round, they’re a bit like a cross between hieroglyphics and Greek. I’m reaching for this door’s knob and twisting it to the right. I’m cracking the door open a peek, just a peek... No! Wait, I don’t like it! The light is blinding me... All I can see are clouds and an endless drop, going on forever. I can see the sky, I’m in the sky, I am a part of the sky, I want it to stop! Nanny, make it stop! Nanny? Nanny...
I can see him gazing at her, in the congregation. She is wearing black. A strange choice, I think, for a wedding. She is beautiful, but she’s like Mother’s crockery, to be seen and not to be used. Her head is as empty as a balloon. She has tears in her eyes. He is waiting at the altar and I am pacing unhurriedly down the aisle towards him. What we used to have was great, truly great. It seems that the part of him that loved me has died, and has been reborn in deepest favour of his servant-lover. That maid in the congregation. Every time I see him look at her, I die a little more inside.
I’m getting closer now. I can still stop this, I tell myself, I can turn around. I look into his still beautiful face and as I raise my eyes to him, I glimpse his lips moving, and I know he is communicating with her. I can’t hear him, but I can read the words sliding from his mouth as clearly as if I can hear. Those annihilating words, that I wanted to hear myself, whispered lovingly in my ear - and they slice through me, crippling my heart. I am barely aware that I have stopped moving, half-way down the aisle. I can feel all the eyes in the church turn to me, razing into my eyes. I can feel my pallid cheeks burning bright crimson, but at the same time, I feel a tear slipping from my eye, betraying me. I’ve dropped the bouquet of white, sweet-smelling flowers at my feet, but I can barely feel my hands opening. The world broke into black and white, a nightmare reality.
In that moment, I knew I couldn’t do it. I looked him in the eye and whispered just audibly; “Dying is preferable.” They were final words to him, and I wanted them to be final words for me too. I put a hand to my straight, black hair and ran down the aisle. The dam holding back the floods finally crumbled. I pushed the doors open so hard that they slammed into the walls and fired back at me. I pulled my train through the door after me and ran into the church gardens, up, up the mossy stone steps and through the sooty, black gates at the top of the churchyard. The heavens had opened and I was getting soaked to the skin, it was raining like the Gods were weeping with me, and I didn’t mind. Once I had pushed my way back through the gates, I ran towards the grand palace door. The palace is no fairytale setting. It’s crumbling and breaking, overgrown and frozen in time. It’s almost sinister. It’s certainly mysterious. The gardens are bleak and lifeless, the plants are wilted and the place is hushed, except for the sound of the wind trickling through the lifeless undergrowth. The palace is hidden and known to few. Inside, it looks like the haunted mansion of young children’s darkest nightmares. It is, however, my home. I’m the lord’s daughter. And I was supposed to marry the Earl’s son... but I didn’t.
What I’d just done began to sink in. Father, I knew, was going to kill me – if I didn’t get there first, and I wanted to. He had picked Jude out to marry me and it so happened that I loved him. I still love him, but he just doesn’t love me like he used to. I still love him... I love him with an intense passion, and I am sure I always will. I just can’t do this, though, now he has stopped loving me, he loves the maid, not me... My mind was spinning wildly into freefall and I knew that once, my Jude would have caught me inside my breaking thoughts and brought me back. Now though, I will just keep falling, I will never stop falling. I realised I was inside now. I couldn’t remember opening the door.
It took me a few moments to realise where I was, I was on the first landing, on the same landing as the cobweb plastered chandelier, which I could see swinging minutely from the ceiling, which was many floor above. The staircase was gloomy, damp and dangerously steep. It was completely silent, apart from the vague echoes of my steady footsteps and the distant yet piercing shrieks of the bats. The whole palace smelled like the inside of an old library book. I pushed my soaked, matted black hair off my washed-out face and wiped the water from my expressionless face. I looked at the hand I had brushed my face with and gasped as I noticed that it was black, black with mascara from my tears. I wiped my face again with my other hand, and this hand too came away black, so I stupidly ran my hands down my soggy white dress to dry them off. It ruined my dress, but didn’t dry my hands. I didn’t suppose I would ever wear the dress again. Little do I care. I don’t want the chance again, I don’t want any more chances. I had been given a chance at a life with the man I love and I had pushed it away. But what is a life with a man who doesn’t love you?
He has made his choice, he has chosen to follow his heart, but shatter mine like the mirror of the worst seven years of tainted luck. The thing is; I still want the best for him. I still want him to be happy, even if it means that he is happy without me. Completely without me. How can I give him that?
I spent my childhood alone. So alone. I cried every night, unsleeping, interrupted by Nanny waking me to face my angry father. Every morning. I spent the days alone. I let the days pass and the nights engulf me. Always. And then I meet Jude and the cycle changes. I sleep. I am awakened, and I descend the stairs and I hold him, and we talk, I think how he is the only thing I ever cared for, and we let time consume us until nightfall. This is how it went for months. We became engaged upon my father’s will. And then his love burned away, leaving the skeleton of what we used to be, and he fell in love again.
I don’t deserve this. I don’t, I know I don’t. All I did to him was love him, and for that, I get this?
I leaned against a balcony, staring right at the sun as it disappeared beyond the horizon. I thought I’d like to follow it, follow the sun set. I wished I could stand on the horizon and have the sun blare in my iced over face. I wanted to fly to the sun, and touch it’s golden, purely good heart, allowing it to heal my pain and sew my insides back together, fixing my emotions, which were, are, lying smashed on the floor like broken glass, small, many and far apart, each piece lethal, piercing the inside of my blank mind.
In seconds, the shimmering, shining glory disappeared beneath the edge of the world, and I looked down at the dead gardens below me. I had black spots in my eyes from staring at the sun. I didn’t mind. I imagined flying. Jumping from the balcony and falling forever, through the clouds and sky. I wouldn’t hit the floor. I would just lie on the air and let it swallow me up, engulf me, hold me and never let me go. A movement broke my train of thought. Far below, I could see the congregation leaving the church, heading back to the palace. This balcony was the first place they would come. Mother, Father and Nanny would come, and I just didn’t want to see them. I don’t think I would ever be able to bear seeing them again. I never wanted to face the music. I’d have to go. I began to scuttle back into the palace. I descended the main stairs, when I heard footsteps. “Where is she? God, where would she go?” I heard the sound of my Mother’s voice. “Bedroom? Balcony? Try those” replied Nanny.
That will lead them here... This floor. I slinked back up the staircase and passed my balcony and the door to my room. I ascended another flight of stairs, and another, and yet another. This was the last floor in the palace, save one which I don’t think I’ve ever been on. I could hear the racket below me; “Really! Where is that girl?” and “No, she’s not here, try the other spare room...”, my only option was the next floor. I realised that nobody could have been here for years, a spider’s web gated the stairs in front of me and I severed it by tip-toeing straight through it. I now had the web’s silk swathed across my front, but that was little to me.
I continued around two more corners of the stairs, and saw a door ahead. It was strangely familiar, but I didn’t ponder as I was probably imagining it, after all, the sheer size of the palace made it easy even for me to get lost. I put a pale hand against the scratched wood and pushed it gently. The hinges squeaked into life and I slid through the door. As I did so, I gasped from the shock of the pure incredibility of my surroundings, and also a sickening recognition, and with it, a sense of fearful excitement. I closed my mouth, which I’d noticed was hanging open in dismay. This was the place I had found in my youth, the place where I had, at first, been thoroughly exhilarated in the bliss of being unregimented, unbound to my usual limitations within the palace. The place which had terrified me, scared me to death. The door ahead of me, I knew, was a gate to another place. Another world, another life.
Having your life flash before your eyes is such an awful cliché, but it usually applies to those who are about to die. It shocked me when it happened in one short, terrifying moment. In walking through this majestic, elaborately decorated door, I would be leaving this world for good. I would be leaving my love in happiness with the maid he loves so much. I would be giving him his happiness, his peace of mind, and at the same time, I would be moving on, leaving my broken remains behind and starting again, rising from the ashes. I’d never see my love again, or Nanny. I would be sacrificing so much, but I would be able to smile again. All my life had ever been was pain, darkness, with one small glimmer of light which faded before it was fully lit. This is what was always meant to happen.
I looked back at the plain, small, wooden door behind me. It seemed so insignificant. A speck of dust in space. I looked up. Blackness. Soaring blackness, the blackest shade of black. There was nothing here, because I was between the two worlds. I had the biggest decision of my life, and more, to make, but I was sure I already knew the answer. I knew, once I had set a foot through the door, there was no going back. I would be on that side, everlastingly, eternally, immortally. I walked back to the wooden door and put my cold, shaking palm against the grainy, bare door and held still for a few moments, bowing my head. In those moments, I thought of Jude. I thought of Nanny too and for a fleeting moment I thought of my parents, but mostly I thought of Jude. Then, I turned, and without looking back, I strode over the dull stone floor to the other door, positively shaking now, tears burning my eyes again. I tugged the door open, and it opened soundlessly, and I stood on the brink. The intense brightness of the heavens was burning my eyes more than my tears and I felt my broken heart thudding against my chest.
I didn’t look back. I felt a gust of warm wind catch my wet face, and I let it carry me. I let it carry me through the skies, and as I turned my head, I saw the other side of the door shoot away from me.
I could see my Mother calling out to me from the open door, and then the door became too distant to see. I couldn’t see it at all anymore. My senses froze.
I am falling without end.
I know I will fly until time ceases to exist.