5. THE PRESENT

I am working my way up the mountain hillside where the cable car runs on wires high above, like I’ve done so many times before.

As I gain altitude, the city draws itself out beneath me.

I love these mountains.

Always have.

I try to walk up here daily, now that I have all the time in the world again.

You see, the situation I’m in is a pretty new one.

Not like before the door opened.

After my oldest son was born, he’s 32 now, I went back to study.

To become a wireman.

At the local Polytechnic.

My interest in electronics had been with me since childhood.

I used to sit in my room and assemble little electronic kits, burning my fingers on my soldering iron.

The smell of molten lead is one of my fondest memories of the time.

Vapourised lead.

I eventually got myself a job as in repair and installation.

It’s been a career I’ve quite enjoyed, if not spectacular in any way.

We got married, bought a house near my parents’ house, then had two more kids over the years to follow.

My interest in music stayed with me as a passion, and my record collection eventually craved its own room in the house.

I loved that room.

It’s all in storage now.

As I reach the plateau at the top of the trail, I enter the small cafe at the cable-car docking station.

I buy myself a cup of green tea.

Trying to give up coffee.

There are quite a few tourists in the cafe.

They’re looking through postcards with pictures of the northern lights, our most valued natural resource.

I like that.

Magnetic shifts in the ionosphere.

That can’t be harvested, like fossil fuels.

Or maybe someday they can.

Magnetic storms could prove to be great sources of energy.

I’m sure Nicola Tesla had a plan.

I sit down by a table near the window.

I can see the whole city from here

Flickering lights.

It’s starting to get dark, even if it’s just 2PM.

November.

Sunless days.

But still brighter than five years ago.

When everything crashed.

For all I know, I should have seen it coming.

It’s not that anything had drastically changed, but little signs had emerged.

I had, for instance, taken up martial arts.

An old childhood dream.

A clear sign of mid-life crisis, I’m sure.

In parallel, at the other side of the spectrum, I had become a part-time smoker again, after more than two decades without a single cigarette.

I guess I found both these activities liberating, at some tiny scale.

But none of these changes could warn me about what came next.

It all started one seemingly normal moring.

I got up at 0645, went downstairs and made myself coffee, as any other morning.

After a quick glance through the usual websites and social media over a couple of slices of bread with cheese, I got dressed and left for work.

My wife works shifts, so she was still fast asleep, and all the kids had moved out, which had left me to enjoy the solitude surrounding my daily rituas.

Just as I was about to walk downstairs, I saw it.

The door.

At first I just stood there, staring at it.

We have lived in this house for almost two decades.

And there has never before been a door there.

This might sound unbelievable to you, and I’m not going to lie to you; 

I will lie to you.

Lies are part of my story.

Like they’re part of the stories of most people I know.

But what I’m telling you is true.

A door had appeared at the entryway wall, where before there had only been a small mirror, and a couple of family photos in black and white.

As the initial puzzlement passed, I came to my senses, and chose to ignore it.

I hurried past it, caught my coat, left the house, and went to work, like nothing unusual had happened.

Something I would later regret.