Secret door

My whole life, I kept going back to that one day when I was truly happy. The feeling was so overwhelming and peaceful all at once. My heart was pounding but I felt wait less .

I was about 5 years old and for a few minutes that day I was in the world of my own, and strangely hyper aware of everything around me.

It was on that ordinary day, when my parents took me with them into the forest to get some wood for fire, that I was the happiest I would ever be again.

It was one of those mid- fall days cold enough for a sweater but warm enough to stay outside all day. My parents told me to stay close by, and I did, for a while at least. . I glanced at them busy at work, and saw my chance for escape. I couldn’t believe my luck. They didn’t even notice me gone. Feeling of joy was overwhelming. I couldn’t see my parents anymore, but I can hear the sounds of wood chopping.

I new right then this forest was magical, and there was no doubt in my mind that I was about to find a hidden treasure or come upon a small fairy frantically trying to close the secret door in a big old tree. Of course the little fairy would be no match for my 5 year old feet, and I would in the nick of time get hold of the door just before it seamlessly closed, never to be found by another human again.

Inside the tree, there would be winding narrow stair case going up and down below. There would be flickering warm light, and small round-top doors everywhere. It must be where fairies lived, and underneath each door there would be different colours of shimmering light peaking through, and there would be whispers. Friendly sort.

Yes I knew this would be the day I discovered all this. And just the possibility of it gave me a feeling of indescribable happiness I never felt since.

As I grew up, and life took over, I forgot all about that day in the woods. Decades passed until one day something triggered the memory and it all came flooding back. I can remember it all so vividly. The smell of the forest floor, the silence interrupted only by muffled sounds of my parents chopping wood.

In my life I had many incredibly happy moments, but nothing ever came close to how it felt on that day.

I came to believe it was something magical at work then.

My 5 year old self needed that magic to survive some dark years ahead, and I did survive.

I think this kind of magical happiness happens to all of us as children , but life makes us forget. It takes a lot of digging to find that memory berried under a mountain of debris life washed on our shores, but it is there. Waiting to be found.

We keep searching for happiness. It is always in near future. As soon as I accomplish this or that, then I’ll be truly happy, but I believe we first have to go back in time and dig that memory from under the pile of rubbish, dust it off so it can keep lighting our path forward.

There was a small path through the trees and ferns, and I new that if I followed it, just around that next bend there I would find it. The secret door and ferries, and hidden treasure… just around the next bend.

My dad’s gentle voice called out my name . They got enough wood to last few weeks. It was time to go home…

the end

Behind the scenes
More behind the scenes

By KATijA TOMiC artist

I am on the quest to tell the story beyond a portrait 
To preserve the beauty of the seemingly ordinary moments and turn them into something beautiful

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