14 – MY THIRD STORY (WATER)

And this is where I snap out of it, and realise that none of the previous introductions to myself have in any way been correct.

Or, there may have been parts of them that are true, but to be honest, I couldn’t pinpoint exactly which ones anymore.

It’s all a bit blurry at this point.

But the real story is that it’s now three o’clock.

Wednesday.

Early in the summer.

And I’m at home, here in East London.

Upper Clapton, to be more specific.

43 Gunton Road, to be exact.

I’ve lived in this house since I first arrived in this city.

Back in 1987.

When I moved in, the house was a squat.

As were most houses in the area.

This was mainly due to London’s housing-legislation at the time, stating that as long as you weren’t caught red-handed breaking into an empty house, it was the landlord’s duty to prove that they had concrete plans for using the house before any squatters could be evicted. 

Because of this, Hackney was filled to the brim with the most amazing people.

Every kind of freak you could imagine gravitated here from all over the world.

Even the odd broker from the City squatted, saving money by not paying rent.

They would slip into their suits in the morning and disappear for most of the day, only to return in the evening with a cheap takeaway in hand.

It worked for those who didn’t rattle their jewellery too loudly.

Or park a fancy ride in the street.

Some had to get burned to understand the rules, of course.

But they were the exeption.

In our specific house, a bunch of young, searching souls had huddled up together in order to escape their more or less difficult pasts.

Ranging from broken families to apartheid regimes.

Or just the bland boredom of their home towns.

Those lucky enough to hold a British or Commonwealth passport could sign on and get dole-money.

That is, if you considered being paid £30 a week lucky.

The few who had a job would evaporate through the city’s web of buses in the morning, only to come home at night to find the rest of us hanging out in their living-room, smoking dope and listening to music.

Or gathered around bonfires in the back yard, brewing magic mushroom tea.

It was all about trying to capture every single bit of excitement we could find.

Which usually included having a party at some point.

But there were more to it than that.

My definition of a sucessful day was all about finding enough cash for a ten-pack of cigarettes and a half-pint of milk.

And the cheapest teabags available.

Supplemented by a handful of bags of sugar nicked from the local greasy spoon, it was all that was needed to get through the day.

Along with my most essential asset.

The music-making setup.

An Atari 1040 computer running C-Lab Creator and an E-Mu Systems Emax keyboard sampler.

Expensive tools that were an unlikely find in a squat in Hackney at the time, but something that had to do with my rather privileged background.

I wasn’t born here, you see.

I was born and raised in a small Arctic town in the kingdom of Norway, where a monthly unemployment cheque amounted almost tenfold to that of a UK one.

In addition, I sold everything I owned before leaving home, including all the music gear I had been buying since I started working as a cleaner when I was 14.

My savings first and foremost went into buying the home-studio setup, and a couple of years later, buying this house, when the frustrated landlord realised that it was better to get rid of a property in an area where most people who could afford it would never set their foot.

The house cost £3000.

The same as the music gear.

After that, I was broke.

But on a day to day basis, a basic diet of cigs and tea was all I needed to be happy.

As happy as can be.

It hadn’t always been like this, though.

After all I had left a lot behind.

Not that I had anything to run away from.

My childhood wasn’t difficult in any way, or lacked the magic every childhood should have, if the world had been a fair place.

Mine was mostly about wild rides of the imagination and untamed emotion. 

Immersing myself in little big things.

I can still recall almost every emotion from when I was little. 

Simple triggers, like seeing a familiar view in an old photograph, or the smell of wood burning in cold, crisp air, can instantly transport me back to events from the past.

Vividly.

As if the grains of silver and the smoke particles serve as little storage devices. 

The DNA of every experience.

I remember most of my childhood dreams, too.

And some nightmares.

I guess I was quite vulnerable.

Easily moved.

My early years taught me to appreciate my family.

We lived in the attic of my grandparents’ house until I was 4 years old.

The house included me, my mother, my grandmother and grandfather, and their black cat.

My dad came and went.

Working on a ship abroad, he had to be away for months at a time.

I missed him greatly when he was away.

And loved every minute he was home.

When he was absent, my mother and I got the support we needed from my grandparents. 

Being part of a greater family gave us love and strength, and laid the foundation in making me a strong believer in cooperation.

Working together to accomplish even the most challenging tasks.

I’ve had my share of loneliness, though.

Especially in my teens.

The formative years.

I believe that’s where my love for music came from.

Comforting sounds.

Waves of melancholy.

“The Figurehead”.

“Pearly Dewdrops Drops”.

“A New Dawn Fades”.

Music that helped me get through the hardest times, and the motivation eventually brought me here.

To this City.

My drive to make my own music is probably rooted in a wish to be as important in the lives of others as the artists I’ve listened to have been in mine.

To say that I’ve reached that goal would be an exaggeration.

But to say that my love for music has never been stronger, is not.

Enough of the past.

Now, years down the line, I’m still here in this house, getting ready for my walk.

Like I do every day.

I look into the bathroom mirror as I put on my make-up, and decide that the foundation is pale enough, the eyeliner appropriately thick.

I walk into the bedroom and pick a black t-shirt from the wardrobe, then grab a couple of rings in the wooden bowl on top of the drawer.

The lion’s head goes on my middle finger.

The infinity loop on my pinky.

It’s too hot to wear my fake leather jacket.

But I choose it anyway.

Some things in life are essential.

13 – THE EXPANDING UNIVERSE

A week had passed since we went to see my doctor.

My wife worked days, which meant I was alone in the house for the most part.

I spent my time either obsessively playing with my re-discovered musical toys, or reading myself further down the rabbit-hole of new ideas that I’d stumbled upon online.

The tinkering with the synthesizer had brought me new energy, and the strange events that hurled me into this new direction were almost forgotten when I lost myself to my music machines.

I’d even found a box of blank tapes in the attic, and had began recording onto them with my 4-track.

Not that I knew what to use the recordings for.

It just felt good to make them.

A justification that wouldn’t be of much value to the person I was just a couple of weeks back.

Reading-wise, I was fascinated by the sheer mass of alternative information available online.

My reading habits of recent years had mainly been focusing on the same news outlets that I’d always been following, even pre digital.

I usually found time for some sports updates, too, and the odd crime novel, whenever we were on holiday, but to be honest, most of my brain’s capacity was used on work-related technical updates.

Updates of a far more boring kind than the ones I was reading now.

Up until now, I had always believed that I possessed a fairly good overview of my professional field, and that I knew the technical knowledge I needed to know.

But now I felt a nagging, sore feeling because I hadn’t opened up to this alternative world of ideas before.

It was as if my brain had been let out of a cage.

Studying felt exciting again.

As I was watching a video on particle entaglement in relation to magnetic resonance, I once again ended up at the Platonic Solids, and once again found myself pondering whether there was any significance to the shapes that had abducted me from my entryway.

Or if there were any significance to the experiences whatsoever.

The Tetrahedron and Hexahedron were two out of five possible ways you could organise equally shaped geometric forms in three dimensional space.

I still found this astonishing.

Why five?

Why not more?

The mess that is this world has always seemed rather endless to my eyes, where even the most simplistic thing would eventually become unfathomably complex at some point.

Given time.

And human interference.

I did some more searches, and found that the facts about Platonic Solids was a validated piece of knowledge, even in the most traditional scientific circles.

Hard science.

The keepers of the Truth.

According to what I’d been raised to believe.

By following the comments beneath the video, some totally crazy, of course, I found more links to new theories on the relations between frequencies of vibration and the laws of geometry.

One independent researcher suggested that these relations laid at the base of every phenomenon perceivable to us in the entire universe.

A bold statement, as I’d never heard anything near it before, not even in the surreal exercise that is quantum physics theory.

On the website, a chart on the electromagnetic spectrum showed a linear representation of different wavelengths.

From the slow waves of sound, moving up through radio waves, microwaves, light, and finally ending with radiation.

I studied it, and found myself staring at the range between wi-fi and infrared light, as if I instinctively expected to find something of value there.

I didn’t.

So I did a search on frequencies between ten to the power of thirteen and ten to the power of fourteen, and found that these were frequencies in the range of atomic vibrations.

The wavelengths of physical reality.

I closed my eyes, and let my mind drift, and saw a vibrating grid of atomic structures with kaleidoscopic forms that danced around in spacetime.

Then heatwaves entered the same space.

They were of different wavelengths, but close enough to start modulating the atomic frequencies, changing their speed.

It made me smile.

My mind swimming in a sea of waves

I must have been a child last time I let my mind flow like this, making inner pictures that my conscious self didn’t seem to have any control over.

Suddenly it struck me that this was exactly what my synthesizer was all about.

Frequencies modulating other frequencies.

Oscillators having conversations with each other.

I opened my eyes, straightened in my chair, and reached for a bunch of patch-cables for the MS-20.

The Low Frequency Oscillator had to play the part of the microwave, and the two oscillators a simple atomic structure.

Patching the LFO to pitch and filter controls, I began sweeping the knobs subtly to look for sweet spots.

The sounds were droney and slowly varying in pitch, making a kind of sad ensemble.

But it was a perfect audible presentation of what I had just imagined.

I put down a few minutes of my noodling to a track on the Portastudio, then rewound the tape, selected the next track, and repeated the procedure.

I went on until I had filled three tracks, then bounced them down to the fourth and started over again until I ran out of tracks, due to the amount of noise and distortion produced in the process.

Not that it was unpleasant in any way, but there was no more space for detail after a while.

Listening back, the tones appeared as a vast field of interchanging waves, modulating eachother in various ways.

I thought it sounded very nice, considering the limitations of the old equipment.

My only concern was that I would love to add even more tracks with different pitches, but realised that it would be difficult to do something more complex with my dated and dusty hardware.

I decided to look for more contemporary music technology, just to see what was available.

And instantly got swallowed by another online rabbit-hole.

The products and possibilities seemed endless.

It was as if the amount of music-making machinery on offer, hardware and software, surpassed the sum of all the artists I’d ever heard of, or imagined to exist.

I felt dizzy.

But still excited.

Losing myself in browsing around webstores and youtube tutorials, another couple of hours disappeared, and when I finally glanced at the time on the upper right corner of my computer I saw that my wife would be home in not too long, and thought that I should knock it on the head and go prepare some dinner for us.

As I switched the equipment off, I contemplated on what a great day it had been.

I was re-vitalised, and the last thing I wanted was to go back to work.

Or back to any part of my old life, to be honest.

I was simply happy. 

For the first time in a long time.

I sat back in my chair, and felt a buzzing feeling, as if being brushed by soft feathers from within.

I closed my eyes to cherish the emotion, then gradually got pulled out of my soothing state by a low, humming sound coming from behind me.

The sound grew louder, and I started to panic as I realised there was no way I could escape.

I shrieked as I turned around and faced the hovering, spinning Octahedron, shining its orange glow onto my paralyzed face.

Within a fraction of a second, the shape swallowed me, and hurled me through space.

This time I tried to scream, as if protesting was of any use.

I no longer accepted being pushed around this way.

But to no avail.

Instead, a calming voice in my mind said: “Relax! You’ll want to see this.”

Upon which I relaxed a little.

The humming was sligtly higher in pitch now, more of a ringing sound than a bass tone.

I found the sound somehow reassuring.

However strange an experience this was, this made me believe that it was still rooted in reality in one way or another, as I’d never dreamt sounds before.

The movement slowed down, and the sound dropped in frequency again, and eventually stopped.

As the walls of the Octahedron gradually became transparent, I expected to see some new unknown surroundings, but felt slightly betrayed to see that there was nothing but dark, empty space surrounding me.

What happened next, was this:

I am floating in an empty space.

I am naked, but not cold.

Curled up, like a foetus in a mother’s womb.

I can see myself from the outside, but still feel my body from the inside, as if I’m both inside and outside of myself at the same time.

I am filled with the most overwhelming sensation of warmth and comfort.

I feel completely safe floating around in this nothingness, and if I could choose, I would stay here forever.

A sense of being loved fills me to the extent that I almost break up in tears of joy.

Then something happens.

At first, it appears as a small beam of light coming from an enormous distance.

The lightbeam grows as it approaches, and the closer it gets, I can see that it is more than a light.

It looks as if it’s made of glass.

The purest glass I’ve ever laid my eyes on.

As it gets up close, I can see that the light comes out of a crystal-shaped form, but a form unlike anything I’ve seen before.

It’s as if it is wrapped around itself in some ineffable way, both revealing its insides as well as its outsides simultaneously.

I stare at it in awe.

It is the most beautiful thing.

The light shines back at me more intensely, and I get the feeling of being watched by it.

Connected, in a very profound way.

It shines brighter and brighter

And then explodes.

An unbelievably bright beam suddenly rushes out of me and meets the one coming from the crystal.

My soul breaks into a million colours, like white light splitting through a prism.

The swarm of fragmented rainbow particles that was me just a second ago, get shattered across the dark space.

Millions upon millions of “I”’s look bewildered at each other as we all tumble into the abyss.

We try to scream, and a multitude of voices ring across the universe.

The plasticity of reality and my own identity seems total, and everything I thought I knew about my existence is wiped out in an instant.

Then, the expanding movement slows down, and I find myself gradually re-composing to the body I had before entering this place.

Once again, I am confined inside the orange shape that brought me here.

Shocked at the core.

It starts moving again.

An unknown period of time passes by, and I finally return to my house.

I find myself lying on the floor beside the chair I’d been sitting in.

Shaking.

In the doorway, my wife stands, staring at me with an expression mid-way between empathic concern and anger.

And I have totally forgotten who I am.

12 – DREAMS LESS SWEET

I wake up in the middle of the night.

It’s very quiet, and the house feels empty.

I get out of bed and walk downstairs, as if I know I will find something of importance there.

I walk down the stairs to the main floor, but can’t see that anything unusual.

I walk down the next flight of stairs to the entryway.

It’s dark, and no beaming lights are coming out of the walls.

But there is a new door on the wall.

It looks different this time.

This one is a normal wooden door, with a key stuck in the keyhole.

I hesitate, then turn the key and open it.

It leads to a dark, spacious room that smells of mold and of being shut for a long time.

Somehow it feels familiar, as if I’ve been here before, although I can’t place the memory.

I get a strong feeling that behind this room there are several other rooms.

A bookshelf fills an entire wall, and against the wall I can see boxes full of the kind of stuff that families acquire over time, but don’t know where to dispose of.

At the other end there is a large, wooden desk.

I’m thinking it would be a nice place to work from, instead of sitting in my son’s old bedroom.

All it would take is some detergent and an hour’s work to get it clean and habitable.

I decide to return to bed and decide upon it later.

I lock the door, and put the key in my pyjama pocket.

On my way up the stairs, I feel exited, as if an extraordinary opportunity has presented itself.

11 – REACHING IN

It was morning when I eventually woke up, still curled up on the cold stone floor of my entryway.

My wife stood beside me, looking down at me with a stern mine.

I sat up, and tried to open my mouth, but before I could say anything, she told me to go upstairs and make myself representable, as we were going to see my doctor.

Which I did.

Looking into the bathroom mirror, it struck me that the person staring back at me had changed a great deal over the last couple of weeks.

My hair was all over the place, and the more than a week-old stubble made me look different.

Unkempt.

Like another category of person.

The kind of category that me and my wife had always agreed to not bear any resemblance to.

I quickly washed and shaved, picked out a new shirt and a clean pair of trousers from the wardrobe, and hurried out to the waiting car.

As I got in the car, I was met with silence.

After driving for a while, she said: “This can’t continue. We will have to sort you out.”

I nodded quietly, fully understanding her reaction.

Ever since we met, our relationship had depended on both of us keeping things together, making life as predictable as possible for the other.

This could only be done by nurturing a strict, mutual agreement on who we were, both as in the idea we had of ourselves, but also how we viewed each other.

If one of us strayed from the path, it would affect our coalition.

There were surely times when I struggled with this concept, but I always returned to the conclusion that it was the only way to stay sane, and eradicate any doubts surrounding our partnership.

A partnership that was fragile from the start.

Not that we didn’t fall in love when we first met.

We did.

Initially, we both enjoyed exploring the mysteries that we represented to eachother.

We were very young, and unexperienced.

But after being together for a while, it seemed that we both felt a slight unease in the relationship.

As if we were a puzzle made up of pieces from two different sets of puzzles.

Soon we were both being pulled between this sense of never being able to relax, and the convenience of having someone to be with.

Not ideal by any means, but none of us were too idealistic at heart to begin with.

We were actually in the process of re-evaluating our whole relationship, and even talked about going separate ways when we discovered that our oldest son was on his way.

And so, as our rather fragile bond was sealed by the pregnancy, all feelings of doubt had to be ignored.

Pushed back into the deep, replaced by a strict framework for our relationship as well as for our individual personalities.

All things that didn’t fit into the alliance simply had to be cut away.

Like some emotional bonzai practise.

This also required us to exclude any thoughts that threatened the characters we had agreed to stay true to.

Strange new thoughts might have developed new sides of ourselves, sides that would eventually make us strangers to each other.

In reality, that’s probably what this whole strategy ended up making us.

Strangers.

Confined in the same prison cell.

I caught myself thinking these new thoughts, and instantly felt guilty.

I straightened up in the passenger seat, and hoped we would arrive at my doctor’s office without too much traffic delay.

That way I would be able to avoid more of my own thoughts, as well as any unwanted conversation.

Luckily, we soon arrived and parked the car, and I thought of how I would deal with the questions I knew would be coming from my doctor.

For some reason I didn’t want to tell him any details about what had happened over the last week. 

It felt as if all my new experiences were of a most private kind.

I quickly made a plan on how to keep him at an arms distance, but at the same time make sure I got a green light to stay home from work, and continue exploring the new world that had opened up to me.

I decided to blame it all on some unexplainable, general feeling of fatigue.

It felt vague enough, but also believable.

He knew that my physical health was quite good for my age, and that I exercised regularly.

He didn’t know about the cigarettes, but I only smoked when I drank alcohol, and that was limited to the occasional bottle of vintage wine.

And anyway, a sporadic intake of nicotine could hardly be blamed for the kind of behaviour I had shown over the last few weeks.

I would focus on feeling powerless, and an unusual craving for sleep.

That would fit in with the sleeping on the floor.

We entered my doctor’s office.

My wife greeted my doctor, who nodded towards me, before she started explaining what was going on, how unlike me it all was, and how it must be down to some temporary infection or something similar.

I listened, then answered the questions that followed from my doctor, all according to my plan.

My wife answered some of them, according to hers.

After the consultation and a quick check-up on my blood-pressure and pulse, my doctor concluded that there didn’t seem to be anything seriously wrong with me, and that I was probably just suffering from general fatigue, and that it could have something to do with the darkness this time of year.

He recommended I should take another week off work, boost my intake of Vitamin D, drink more water, and take one day at a time.

Silently cheering inside, I thanked him, said goodbye and left, after my wife had done the same.

We drove back home without further conversation.

She was already late for work.

After she dropped me off at the house, I went back inside, straight to my desk and opened the computer.

I did some a few more searches on Platonic Solids, and found some interesting reads on the concept of “Sacred Geometry”.

Going through a few articles, I found that the geometry concerned didn’t seem very sacred at all, but more like a rather strange way of describing relations between frequency and form.

Like the metrics of sound and space.

Something anyone with a slight knowledge of accoustics would be able to relate to.

The focus on numbers instantly appealed to me.

Pure Mathematics.

A language I love.

A language without ornamentation.

Stripped of unnecessary imagery and wordplay, which most of the time served to conceal any real meaning, if there ever was any to begin with.

Timeless code. 

I found the presence of these kind of ideas in metaphysical texts very peculiar, as I’ve always considered mathematics to be as far from mythology as you can get.

On the totally opposite side of the spectrum of fairy tales.

It was almost as if the tag “sacred” was applied only to repel the attention of any rational mind, who would automatically dismiss all this as nonsense.

Someone like myself.

But reading through these articles, it was surprisingly easy to look beyond the noise, and into the more essential information they contained.

This was something I had never experienced before.

One article linked the five Platonic Solids to atomic structures, challenging most traditional definitions of the building-blocks of physical matter.

A theory called “The Electric Universe” disregarded the forces of gravity altogether in favour of those of electricity and magnetism, suggesting that the entire universe was built on electric charges working along energy grids following structural laws based on simple geometry, and that all physical matter was a consequence of the behaviour of these forces and forms.

I found it all highly interesting, and the electrician in me immediately started comparing these theories to my own understanding of electricity.

After all, there was an apparent link between the structure of crystals and vibration that I could immediately relate to, in that I’d been using crystals in electronic circuits since my early schooldays.

Building simple FM-receivers and other radio equipment.

Crystals are everywhere in electronics, and is used to tune radio channels to different frequencies, and keep digital clocking in most computers.

Everyone who have any basic understanding of electronics knows that.

Most people don’t, though.

I leaned back, and thought about how I’d been so fascinated with electricity from an early age.

The age of wireless.

As I let my mind wander, I suddenly remembered the joys of playing with these forces as a child, and later as a teenager, with my music machines.

Modulating pulses.

Oscillating circuits.

Vibrations locked in form.

I suddenly got a strong urge to re-live these memories, and before I knew it I’d gotten up from my chair and climbed the ladder into the attic.

Behind piles of boxes full of useless stuff, I worked my way into the far corner of the room, and there it was.

My old Korg MS-20 synthesizer.

Full of dust, and with one broken key, but otherwise apparently intact.

Next to it, in another box, I found my Roland TR-606 Drumatix drum machine.

It was still inside its black plastic carrying bag with leather straps on, so you could keep it around your neck while performing.

Beneath it, wrapped in an old towel, was my old 4-track Portastudio.

I grabbed a plastic bag full of cables from the same box, and carried all the gear down to the office.

Setting up was surprisingly easy, considering it had been more than three decades since the last time I did it.

With both the synth and drum machine going through the portastudio, I connected my headphones to it.

Then switched everything on.

And lost myself in sound and play.

I’m not sure how long I’d been sitting there, but it must have been hours when I got up to get a glass of water from the kitchen.

Back in the chair, just as I was about to put my headphones back on, I heard someone entering the house downstairs.

I realised it was my wife locking herself in, which meant that she’d finished work, which in turn meant I’d been sitting at my desk for a full working day.

Hypnotised.

I quickly switched everything off, got up, and went downstairs to meet her.

She asked if I felt better.

I told her yes, and eagerly started talking about my discoveries since she left me this morning.

She listened with half an ear, then suggested I should maybe take things a little easy for a quicker recovery.

After all, we didn’t want this to linger on, and would rather like things to return to normal, no?

I thought maybe no.

10 – HOW I GOT HERE

The situation is this:

I am sitting on a rather uncomfortable, wooden chair in a small room in Neukölln.

In front of me is a brown desk, and on top of it lies a black notebook in which I am writing these words.

To my left, a cup of the finest Matcha-iri genmaicha tea gives off its familiar rice-tinted fumes into the cold winter air.

To my right lies a loaded gun, and behind me a string of more or less considered choices.

And their consequences.

I first came to this city in 1987, when I’d had enough of my shitty little home-town.

I had not planned to end up here, but a lot of the music I was interested in at the time came out of here.

Bands like Einstürzende Neubauten.

Neue Deutsche Welle.

I made some ideas about how the city would be like when I listened to this music.

Ideas that turned out to be all wrong.

But as another long and dark winter had started losening its grip back home that year, I had bought an Interrail-ticket for the summer, which meant that I could go wherever I wanted around Europe for a month.

So as summer approached, I caught a coach to the nearest town with a railway station, and jumped on the first train towards the south.

From there on I could relax and follow the tracks wherever they would take me.

Not that there were that many options.

There seldom are with train tracks.

But I soon found myself racing down the west coast of Sweden, and after a short ferry journey, the east coast of Denmark.

Arriving in Copenhagen, I didn’t really know where to go to next, so I just got off at the station to get some cigarettes and food.

In that order.

I checked the board for possible transits, and found that a train to Amsterdam would leave in less than an hour.

I decided that Amsterdam was the place to go.

As I made the decision, I could feel my shoulders ease from the usual tension, and life felt better than ever.

No plans. 

No schedule. 

Just the freedom to do whatever I pleased at any given moment.

They way I wanted it to be.

When the train pulled up, I got on, rigged myself in a seat, and pulled my Sony Walkman out of my bag.

I put on one of my mixtapes, and stared absently out the window at the people hurrying about the platform outside, when my eyes caught a familiar face.

It was a friend of mine from back home.

He smiled as he saw me through the window, and I got up and lowered it.

“What are you doing here?”, he asked.

“I’m not sure, actually”, I answered, “But it seems I’m going to Amsterdam.”

“Sounds like a good idea. Mind if I join you?”, he replied.

I didn’t.

He was my kind of guy.

As we rolled out of the station, sat face to face in the train coupé, armoured with a set of headphones each, I knew his would be a companionship of minimal verbal conversation, which suited me perfectly.

The entire trip to Amsterdam was spent looking out the window and changing tapes when they ran out, only abrupted by regular walks down the isle to the smoking carriage for a cigarette or two.

When we finally arrived at Amsterdam Centraal, we grabbed our backpacks and walked out of the station, where our future plans ended.

Looking around the crowd of tourists, junkies and hustlers, we decided to sit down on the ground to see if any new plans emerged.

It was early in the evening, and as we had no idea of where to stay the night, we decided to postpone any decicion on the topic.

Instead, we started walking up towards the Red Light District, where we knew there were some coffee shops.

I didn’t smoke dope regularly, but had been familiar with it ever since a school trip in 8th grade, when a girl I used to hang out with in class took me to the side and snuck us off into the woods.

She sat us down under a tree and pulled a chillum pipe out of her handbag, lit it up and handed it to me.

I smoked, and was underwhelmed, as with most things.

But the Amsterdam coffee shops were still a curiousity to a Scandinavian youth in the eighties, and we didn’t know what else to do, getting stoned seemed a feasible option.

We found a place that seemed not too popular, picked out a couple of bags of weed at the counter, and sat down by a table and rolled up.

I pulled the walkman out of my bag and handed my friend the extra headphones.

Then we disappeared into the music as clouds of smoke filled the air.

Night had started falling when the batteries of the Sony had lost enough power to make us notice the slowing-down of the music.

We decided that we might as well start looking for somewhere to stay the night, and got up and left the café.

Walking the Amsterdam streets at night with heavy eyelids and backpacks is a clear giveaway, and soon enough we were hit by a hustler whose job was luring young, stoned tourists to stay at a hostel-ship down by the harbour.

We didn’t disappoint his judgement, and followed him back through the train-station to the dark areas beyond.

As we registered at the front desk, the Pied Piper of stoned backpackers got his commission, and disappeared into the night, hunting whatever was on his list of cravings.

We were still loaded with a selection of pretty potent grass, so as soon as we settled in our cabin, we inserted some fresh batteries in the Sony, put on a set of headphones each, smoked as much as we could handle, and drifted off to sleep on a cloud of cotton.

We both slept well into the next day, and only got up when the heat and stench of sewers that filled the boat reached its bearable threshold.

Packed up, and on our way out to hit the town for some late breakfast, we stumbled upon a couple of German backpackers in the corridor outside the cabin.

Two giggling white boys with dreadlocks, playing dub reggae off the boombox that one of them carried.

After exchanging formalities in the usual backpacker lingo (“Where are you from?”, “Where are you going?” and “Mind if we join you?”), all four headed towards town in the baking sun, armed with fresh expectations and hungry stomacs.

It turned out the guys were from Berlin, and the conversation soon turned into one of music.

And of politics.

The kind that demanded big changes to the status quo, without presenting any real alternatives.

Youthful willpower at its best.

We agreed on what we thought to be the problems of the world, and as if to celebrate the political breakthough, sat down and rolled a joint at the first coffee-shop we could find who served food and actual coffee.

After a string of joints, several cups of coffee, and a selection of foods that started out quite nutritious and gradually ended up consisting of little more than sugar, due to the amount of weed smoked, we thanked each other for the sharing of goods and chat.

Then we headed in each our directions, but not before exchanging contact details and a “If you ever find yourself in Berlin, we have plenty of room in our squat.”

The pair of blonde dreadlocks disappeared back in the direction of the harbour, and me and my friend decided our ways also parted here.

We shook hands with a smile and few words, knowing both agreed that the best of times had been had.

I sat down on the sidewalk, had a cigarette, and wondered what to do with all my freedom.

I decided to check out the Van Gogh museum.

For no particular reason, I’d had quite a passionate hang-up with the painter, which was actually rather strange, as my interest in art in general was totally absent.

The art world belonged to old people.

Irrelevant people.

But Vincent had caught my interest, and I’d read all the biographies I could find on his rather sorry life.

Finding a strange resonance, that I didn’t understand at the time.

Even though I though I knew what to expect as I entered the first hall in the museum, I was totally taken by surprise at my own reaction to the paintings, now that I could see them in the flesh, and not just as dodgy reproductions in Taschen books.

The sunflowers were alive.

Vincent’s stare more intense than any real eyes I’ve ever looked into.

Works of Magick, charged with the soul he so painfully but willingly gave away.

I ended up walking around the museum until closing time, and by the time I was on my way out, I felt Amsterdam had shown me all it had to offer for now.

Walking down towards the Centraal Station in the evening sun, I knew I had to keep up the flow I was in, and didn’t offer a thought about where to go next.

Inside the station, the information board listed an upcoming train to Paris, and as I couldn’t find any reasonable objections, I decided Paris to be next.

But as I was waiting on the platform, just before the one I was expecting, another train came rolling in.

One with “Cologne” spelled out in bright luminous letters above its front doors.

So Cologne it would be.

The first part of the journey was uneventful, although my inner voices were busy making up fantasy scenarios about what would be waiting for me.

Then I fell asleep.

9. MY SECOND STORY (FIRE)

Lies. Lies. Lies.

Don’t believe a word I’ve been saying!

Or, believe some.

But be sceptical.

As any informed person should be.

Yes, it’s true that I was born in the Arctic, and yes, my dad was a captain at sea.

I also have two brothers.

But the actual truth is, my childhood was nothing like I described in my previous story.

It was dead boring.

My dad being away half the time, and this being Norway in the seventies – before we discovered vast amounts of oil in the North Sea and became one of the most priviledged nations in the world, meant we didn’t have much when I was little.

We didn’t travel anywhere on holiday, or have a car, so we could drive the four to five hours it took us to get to the nearest town, Narvik, where they had a train station that connected them to the rest of Scandinavia through Sweden.

We didn’t even go on weekend trips to Northern Finland to buy cheap meat, as most of my friends’ families did.

We were stuck.

I remember the seventies as a dull mix of long silences mid conversation, middle-aged men smoking on TV and shades of faded green curtains, only interrupted by the odd orange and brown striped knitted sweater.

And shit music.

Lots of it.

Progressive rock performed by balding dinosaurs, and pop songs with lyrics describing the sadness of dying from cancer just as summer set in.

I liked Hot Butter’s “Popcorn”, though, and later on, when I got a cassette tape of Kraftwerk’s “Man Machine” from a friend, everything clicked into place.

I remember it well.

I was sitting in my room, assembling a DIY electronics kit that promised to function both as an FM radio AND a tone generator. 

I put on “The Robots” and my life instantly had meaning. 

I was 11 years old by then.

But more of that later.

Most of my childhood days were pretty uneventful.

I spent my free time skiing in the winter, which lasted for 7-8 months, or playing with other kids out in the woods during the short, sunny summers.

The summers seemed to last for an eternity back then.

I guess that is a good thing.

On rainy days I liked building fantasy structures with Lego in my room.

Creating miniature worlds.

A tiny plastics mason.

Playing God.

I had friends, though.

They came and went as our fields of interests changed.

None of them became lifelong acquaintances.

Some due to their bad taste in music.

And I had girlfriends.

I was far too young, of course.

But so were they.

Still we kissed in the dark.

Which I liked.

Otherwise there’s not much I can recall that would be worth telling you about.

After the uneventful seventies, the transition into the eighties felt like an opening of floodgates of possibilities.

It would become the decade during which my future was shaped.

I was 14 in 1980.

Punk had already happened in the UK, without much notice to us.

London was far from the Polar Circle back then.

Mind you, one of my friends bought “Never mind the bollocks” by The Sex Pistols when it was released in 1977, but I didn’t really like the music, although I could relate to the energy it radiated.

But anyway I had already discovered Kraftwerk.

It seemed to me that punk was all about destroying the past, whereas electronic music was about building the future.

I would rather be on the building team.

Luckily, in the years that followed the shift into the new decade, lots of new and exciting music started arriving.

Along with otherworldly looks.

But the music that hit me the most when I was 14 years old, was decorated with the black and white squares of 2 Tone Records.

It was music that moved me.

The beats.

The attitude.

The message.

When the quirky Norwegian answer to the new British ska wave turned up in the shape of The Aller Værste, I instantly became a fan.

I still am.

On another side of the musical spectrum, weird sounds from California started arriving by mail-order.

San Francisco’s Ralph Records provided me the avant-garde sounds and hallucinatory imagery of The Residents, and the art-rock genius of Tuxedomoon.

A proper education.

At 15 I played drums in a post-punk band, trying to fuse all of my influences into an original style.

We ended up sounding like a typical New Wave band.

And by now I was mostly listening to synth pop anyway.

Enter the drum machines.

In the band I was trying to keep the time like a Linn Drum.

Failing, of course.

So soon I was selling my drum kit, got a job as a cleaner, and saved up enough money to buy my first drum machine. 

A Roland TR-808.

In 1983.

Me and my friends got hold of some synths.

Korg MS-20’s and Roland SH-09’s.

And went for instant bedroom superstardom.

We stayed up all night, drank endless mugs of instant coffee and smoked cigarettes, trying to get the machines to obey our visions.

Most of the time they didn’t.

But we had fun.

Apart from the odd tape release, and local gigs, none of our efforts succeeded in connecting us to the rest of the world, or the sub-cultures that inspired us.

So however much we wanted to communicate, detachment was all I felt.

A disconnection from the “real world” that I imagined existed elsewhere.

So I left.

Never looking back.

Until now.

And as I’m sitting here, in a small rented room in Berlin, all of the above events seem to have happened aeons ago.

The sequence of choices that brought me here are impossible to undo.

Bridges have been burnt.

And I have a brand new choice to make.

One that might mean life or death.

A basic, binary problem.

8. IN THE GARDEN

It was there.

In the garden.

That I saw her. 

I was ready to run off and play in the woods, but just as I walked out the door, she stood there.

Leaning against the wall.

She wore a red dress, with swirly black patterns printed on.

Her long, dark hair was braided.

She smiled at me, and then quickly ran away.

And I died.

Instantly following the few seconds that our eyes met, a swirling sensation welled out from the earth beneath me.

It entered the soles of my shoes and rushed up through my legs.

When it hit my belly, it exploded into a million pieces of swarming invisible insects, trying to get out.

The wave hit my heart, and ripped it open.

All I could see, was a cloud of vibrating particles that flickered in all the colours I knew.

And some new ones that I didn’t.

What seemed like a far too short eternity passed.

Then I could hear the voice of my mother calling my name.

It sounded as if she was standing at the bottom of a deep well.

I slowly returned to my normal senses.

Changed.

I have been looking for the girl ever since.

7. AND MEN MUST FALL

A couple of weeks had passed since the incident with the new door opening in my entryway and the flying red triangle abducting me.

The first few days after it happened, I had just felt totally robbed of all energy.

I slept a lot, and only got up to eat very light meals.

I didn’t even feel like drinking coffee, which was very unusual.

I reassured my wife that I had probably caught a light flu or something similar, and that I just needed to rest a little.

I told her nothing about the incident.

She was content with my explanation, even if she found it a bit surprising that I should be sick so suddenly, as it didn’t happen very often that I had any health problems.

To make things seem more natural, and to buy myself some time, I called my doctor and had her write a medical certificate to send off to work.

Towards the end of the week, I started feeling better, but somehow I couldn’t get myself back into focusing on my usual routines.

I felt that I had to try and understand what had happened to me, however surreal it was.

My approach to life has always been quite rational, and I found the only way to attack this situation was to try and make sense of it.

At first, I had to decide whether the whole thing had been a hallucination , due to some unknown medical reason, or if what had happened was as real as anything else I was experiencing.

The latter seemed the most believable conclusion, as all my senses had been intact throughout the experience, and I could remember every little detail.

For some reason I was very preoccupied with the peculiar shape of the thing that had encapsulated me, and elevated me into the skies that day.

I felt that it was somehow essential.

So I sat down by my computer and started searching for more information on triangular shapes.

Even though I have a basic understanding of geometry, I discovered that there was a lot to learn.

I eventually learned that a triangular object where all sides and angles are equal, is called a Tetrahedron, and that this is the first of five fundamental shapes known as the Platonic Solids.

The Platonic Solids are the only five objects in three-dimensional space where all its sides and angles are equal.

I found it very interesting, especially as I hadn’t been aware of any of this before, in spite of it being fairly basic knowledge about the world we live in.

But even after I had read about the Platonic Solids for hours, there was no indication that any of them were supposed to talk to you, or abduct you from your entryway in the morning.

That part was still a grey area.

The weekend passed, I felt that I needed more time, and called my doctor again on Monday morning to ask for another week to rejuvenate.

This time she sounded a little more concerned, and asked me if I could come down to her office and do some tests, but after I reassured her that this was nothing more than a light flu, that I could already feel was loosening its grip, she agreed to write an extended medical report for work.

I hung up, put on some loose and comfy clothes, made myself a cup of weak coffee, and sat down by my desk in the small home office we had converted our oldest’s son’s room into when he moved out.

The day was spent reading more and gradually getting lost in a rabbit hole of suspicious websites linking geometrical shapes to frequency spectrums and levitating boulders. 

Some claimed that any form in the universe functions as an “antenna” for specific “energies”.

Needless to say, to someone with a thirty year career working with electronics, relating to the basic laws of electricity and electromagnetism every day, this sounded pretty out there, and probably was.

But it was still not as crazy as my own experience from the previous Monday would sound to anyone with a basic understanding of psychology.

I kept reading and followed any lead I could find, as weird as they came, until the entire day had passed and my wife came home from her day shift.

I could see her surprise at finding me in the clothes I was wearing.

I didn’t often wear comfy clothes, not even at home.

She showed some real concern when I told her I still hadn’t gone to work.

“But you always go to work. You’re an always going to work person!”, she said over dinner.

I thought about this, how I was defined only by my habits, and not by how I experienced the world.

It somehow felt unfair.

“Maybe I’m more than one person?”, I heard myself answer.

She stared at me.

“You realise that that’s a very strange thing to say?”.

She gave me a cold look, as if I had betrayed her in some way.

Maybe I had.

I avoided talking about the subject for the rest of the evening, and waited until she went upstair to bed.

After another couple of hours in front of the computer, I was too tired to take in any more information, and decided to go to bed.

The last thing I do before brushing my teeth, is turning off all the lights in the house.

This includes going down the stairs to the entryway on the ground floor, and check the switch for the outdoor lamp, and double-check if the door is locked.

It usually is.

As I switched off the light and turned around to go back up, I stopped mid-movement.

A dim, greenish glow drew up an outline of the new door on the wall.

It gradually got more and more intense, until the door was penetrated by beams of light and eventually dissolved.

In the doorway, a rotating, green cube appeared.

“This is not who you are.”, it said, and then I was lifted me across the room and sucked  into its interior, just as the Tetrahedron had done the previous Monday.

Confined inside the square, I could see that it had the same gradient quality as the Tetrahedron, as if its walls were made up of a fog-like texture.

Again, the feeling of movement started.

I wouldn’t suggest that I’d gotten used to the experience in any way, but this time I felt a little calmer.

The shaking and moving went on for much longer than in my last experience, and I decided it was best to just keep quiet and wait for whatever destination I was headed for.

As I sat there, I noticed a subtle humming sound, like a low frequency drone, probably less than one hundred cycles per second.

It felt as if it was coming from all directions, from the very fabric of the cube.

This, combined with the green glow made me feel surprisingly comfortable.

Maybe I was getting used to the experience, and even a little excited about what would come next.

After a while the humming sound dropped in frequency until it was below the listening spectre.

Simultaneously, the sense of movement ended.

And everything went still.

I kept looking at the walls, and noticed that they had turned semi-transparent.

Outside, I could see that it was dark, and that I was sat in an open, grassy field.

Above me a starry sky opened up, and at the edges of the field I could see trees, and also some buildings in the distance.

There was also glow of light from behind the buildings that gave me the impression that I was not totally out in the wilderness, but rather at the outskirts of a city.

Eventually the walls of the cube dissolved completely, and I now found myself sitting on the grass, which felt warm and comfortable.

It puzzled me to find myself in a hot summer’s evening, a far cry from the snowy November night I had just been in back home.

I rose to my feet, and looked around.

The sounds of insects provided a suitable soundtrack to the setting.

The cube was nowhere to be seen now, and no voices spoke neither inside or outside my head.

I felt strangely at ease, and wondered what to make of all this.

Then, as an impulse coming from somewhere hitherto unknown to me, I started moving on the grass.

At first, I just swayed in the warm breeze, but then I started swirling around.

I was dancing.

Still wearing my pyjamas, with no shoes on, the sensation of the grass under my feet got more and more intense, and eventually made me feel that I was being caressed by the earth, returning its love by dancing, like a child would.

An unimaginable joy rose inside me, and I started smiling and giggling uncontrollably.

I swirled and danced with a sense of freedom that I couldn’t recall having felt ever before.

I looked at my hands, and discovered that there were beams of light shining out of them in the most brilliant colours I’ve ever seen.

I gazed at the apparent magic unfolding before my eyes, and saw that as I made gestures with my hands, the light-beams would form little wheels of light in numerous colours.

I started throwing the light-wheels out into the air.

A complete and utter happiness filled me, and for the first time I could recall, I sensed a near endless love for everything inside and around me.

The colour-wheels flew across the meadow, over the trees and towards the buildings in the city in the distance.

I laughed aloud, and moved like floating in warm, liquid air.

Looking at my feet, I watched the grass pressing up around them as I moved, and I suddenly felt a limitless love for the ground beneath me.

I stopped dancing and knelt down, spreading my arms as I laid down on my belly.

I realised that the love I felt was for the planet below me.

A warm, breathing, living thing that provided me with everything I could ever wish for.

Unconditionally.

As I hugged the earth, I started crying.

I laid there, holding on to the Earth, hoping this would last for an eternity.

Then, without warning, I was lifted up and sucked back into the cube, that was now placed in the middle of the field. 

I could hear my own desperate cries, as coming from a child being separated from its mother, but in no time I found myself back inside the green cube. It started moving, and the humming sound returned.

The voice inside my returned, and said: “THAT is who you are!”

Whereby I was spat out back onto the chilly stone floor of my entryway.

Helpless as a newborn, I curled up and started sobbing uncontrollably on the cold floor.

6. A NEW EXIT

In the days following the new door incident, I tried my best to ignore the whole thing.

I’d become quite good at ignoring irrelevant matters over the years.

But this one turned out to be a tricky one.

One evening, after I had cleaned the kitchen and was about to go to bed, I went downstairs to turn off the lights in the entryway.

As I did, and everything went dark, I saw it again.

The door was back, and this time a bright light was seeping out around its contours, as if there was bright daylight at the other side.

I froze and stared at the door.

Not because I was scared, strangely enough, but because this didn’t fit in with the idea I had about my life.

The concept of me.

Up until that point, everything had had its own place, and there were very little unexpected happening.

Sure I might slip on the ice from time to time when out shopping groceries, but wearing spikes would easily take care of such unforeseen and unwanted events, and I never got seriously injuried or broke anything.

Bills were paid in time, family relationships were stable, if somewhat uneventful, and my health was pretty good for my age.

The door simply didn’t fit in, and the daylight behind it added to the feeling of disharmony.

As I stood there staring at it, the glow from around its edges slowly faded, and it was gone again.

Again, I chose to ignore it, and again, I probably added to the impact of the powers that were waiting for me just around the corner.

Behind the door, to be more exact.

I went to bed, hoping it would go away and not come back.

A few days passed with nothing strange happening, and then it struck again.

It was a Monday.

I hadn’t slept very well.

I usually try to get a good rest before the start of a new week, but as I had gone to bed the night before, I just couldn’t rest.

All kinds of thoughts kept racing through my mind.

People I hadn’t seen in decades and totally had forgotten existed, suddenly popped up in my memory.

Unimportant events from different parts of my life materialised before my inner eye.

Without any apparent reason.

When I eventually fell asleep, it was the middle of the night, and the last thing I remember thinking was that the next day would be rough.

It turned out to be an accurate prediction.

After my morning ritual, which was followed by an extra double espresso this particular morning, I went downstairs to put on my shoes, scarf and coat and leave for work.

As I was kneeling down to tie my laces, I got an eerie feeling of being watched from behind.

I turned around, still squatting on the floor, and stared at the wall where the mirror should be.

Again, I froze.

The door was wide open.

Behind it, a bright light beamed out and blinded me.

I instinctively put one hand in front of my face, and after adjusting to the light, I could see that something was standing in the doorway.

At first I couldn’t make out if it was a small person, or an animal.

It felt very much alive.

But there, in a new doorway in what used to be my familiar entryway wall, a red, shiny, triangular shape was now hovering.

Floating in the air.

Spinning slowly.

As it did, it revealed four perfectly shaped triangular sides.

I kept staring at it for what seemed like minutes.

Still kneeling, with one shoe on.

Then, to my surprise, the shape said: “Come!”

And before I could process the command, or think of a good answer, I got sucked up from the floor, lifted across the entryway, and swallowed by the formation in the doorway.

In what seemed like no time, I was inside a small, red room with triangular walls.

The bowels of the thing.

It was both claustrophobically small and endlessly vast at the same time.

I somehow couldn’t grasp where its walls began or ended, they had a kind of gradient quality to them.

Suddenly it felt as if I was moving vertically at high speed, but I couldn’t see anything that I could relate my own position to.

I kept my mouth shut, as I was still too puzzled to speak.

After a few seconds I managed to open it and ask: “Where are we going?”

“To the source”, the shape answered.

Strangely content with the answer, I kept quiet for the rest of the time that it felt like we were moving.

Then the feeling of movement abruptly stopped.

And then, without warning, the walls of the room dissolved.

That’s when I got scared.

I now found myself hanging in thin air, several hundred meters above the city.

I could see the cable-car’s upper terminal far below, and scattered clouds both around me and above me.

It was freezing cold, as if to remind me that I was physically present, and not just dreaming.

The voice of the shape appeared again, this time from inside my head.

“This is all you have.”, it said.

“A unique perspective.”

“You own nothing, not even your own personality.”

“All the ideas you have about who you are, are constructions.”

“You only have this.”

Gasping in the cold air, paralysed by vertigo, I found no response.

“Let’s have a closer look.”, the voice said, and I instantly fell towards the ground.

I tried to scream, but there was no sound.

I felt totally powerless.

Just as I thought I was about to hit a rooftop that came zooming towards me, I stopped in the middle of the air just a few meters above the house.

I recognised it.

It was my own.

But it was different somehow.

Firstly, the house seemed to be about double the size of what it actually should be.

Then, as if by magic, the roof dissolved and disappeared.

I could now see the layout of the different rooms, and everything seemed familiar. 

I looked closer, and saw that all the rooms were correctly laid out.

I had been involved in both drawing and building the house, so I knew it very well.

All the rooms were there.

All the furniture.

All the familiar mess.

Except that the outer wall facing East had been changed.

Instead of being the outer end of the house, this wall had now been replaced with a higher and much thicker inner wall.

On the other side of this new wall, the building continued for what seemed like the exact length of the original house.

And I realised that this other part was exactly identical, only it was mirrored.

I quickly scanned all the rooms to confirm that the details were correct, as if to confirm the existence of this new part of the house.

And that’s when I saw it.

In our bedroom, someone was lying on my bed.

It was me.

I quickly shifted my focus to the other side of the house.

In the mirroring bedroom, on the side of the bed that would be mine in an inverted world, someone was lying, too.

Just as I tried to focus on the person’s face, I was violently dragged back into the air.

It felt like I was sucked into a vacuum, and in a split second I found myself back inside the triangular shape with the red walls.

It hurled upwards through the air, and after a roller-coaster-like ride, it stopped, and spat me out through the new door in my entryway, which quickly faded and disappeared.

Very confused, I found myself back on the floor, kneeling, wearing only one shoe.

Knackered, I sat down on the floor.

I must have been sitting there for half an hour when I picked up my cellphone and called in to work to report that I wouldn’t be coming in today.

Afterwards, I undressed and went back to bed.

Something I had never done before.

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.