The first time Yulia saw the door was on her walk to work one morning, in the middle of the old Roman wall that ran through the centre of the town. It had never been there before. But there it was, locked and closed and as solid and real as the wall itself. She couldn’t stop thinking about it all day, this out of place door in the middle of that wall. When she came home that evening, it was gone.
The second time she saw it, it was down near the abandoned pub, in the wall circling the beer garden. A different wall, but the same door. It was unmistakeable. She was on the bus this time, and caught only a glimpse of it, but she was sure it was open now, not fully, but slightly ajar at least, a shaft of light shining though the gap and illuminating the pavement with an ethereal glow.
Then the bus rattled on towards its destination, and all Yulia was left with was the memory of it on her retinas, a patch of shimmering blue superimposed over the dismal and the dull of the town in winter.
The third time the door was on the other side of the street, opposite the shop, in the ruins of the old gallery, directly in her line of sight for the whole of the day. It was wide open, and Yulia could see through to what lay beyond. And what she was a world of wonders, a shifting infinity of possibilities, each one more enticing than the last, more beautiful than any heaven.
Only the queue of her customers, which stretched twice round the shop and back down the street, kept her from getting up from her chair and crossing the street and stepping through that door and never coming back.
Yulia knew it was all a dream, but that hardly mattered. She’d seen it now. Seen through and beyond to something else, something other than this. All she had to do was was wait. Wait for the door to return, for her to take her chance. There were other worlds than these.
1. Written between June 7th and June 14th, 2021
2. The title is taken from an HG Wells short story
3. And the last line is taken from The Gunslinger by Stephen King
4. But the bits in between are my own