Stories on the edge of familiarity
Beyond the Threshold

Beyond the Threshold

I came across a thin place
an oblong mirror shimmering
hung in space
half a foot above the grass,
it came up to my forehead
and I could step through it if I ducked
so I did
On one side was a garden filled with mist
on the other was a fog-wrapped forest
and I honestly don’t know which I left
and I honestly don’t know which I entered
but the thin place closed behind me
and the moist air drew close around me
I wanted to turn back
like Lot’s wife
except without anyone turning to salt
but I worried they would
if I stepped back
and I was tempted to go through that mirror again
hide in wherever I came from and pretend
it wasn’t there
What have I done?
What have I done?
but I didn’t really want to
I’d just stepped into the lake to swim
and I knew it was going to be cold, but I wasn’t
used to the temperature yet
so I stood, shivering, teeth clenched
in the warm, vapour-frosted air
filled with black and green
black of either tree trunks or soft earth, I don’t know
green of either pine needles and leaves or baby vegetables and flowering plants, I don’t know
let my body soak in the cold
and do what it needed to warm
while goosebumps prickled on my skin
as I got used to the idea of having stepped through a gate
the old way gone behind me
after having left it on purpose
and I suck in my breath and look up
to see the sun in the clouds
whether the sky around them is blue or hazy, I don’t know
but the light here doesn’t hurt my eyes so much
and as I exhale and look back down
a new world spreads out before me
and it’s time to walk
so I do.

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