Written by
Warren Bergmann
Written on
13 Sep 2022
Published in
Categories are coming soon

It is a large room with white walls, no windows, and no furniture. You cannot be sure if a door is there, but when you turn to look it is not. You see a large lonely ant crawling on the floor of hard pileless carpet, and you want it to live. You think about a dancing girl you’ve never met.

You move slowly, closer to the wall to see its texture; it is ridged. You start to walk along, running your fingers along he wall, and it’s surprising how soon you’ve walked the complete perimeter. But then you’re not sure that you have.

A sudden flash and silent explosion at the wall opposite you opens an immense ragged hole there. You stare at the hole for half a minute or an hour, now and then trying, in vain, to stare through it. Nothing is on the other side and you can’t summon the courage to cross the room to investigate. You slowly sink to the floor, your back to the solid wall, staring across at the hole until it lulls you to sleep. You dream of voices calling you by another man’s name . . .

. . . This is what is beyond the hole in the wall. It is a forest of heavy, dank odors and dark green shadows. Someone walks slowly on the soft leaf cover of the forest floor; can feel the sun but cannot see it. Touches every tree within reach, reaches out toward other trees. Breathes deeply, in good health. Confidently negotiates stones, roots, inclines, mud, and brambles. Does not look back at you, asleep . . .

. . . I’m the one who blasted the hole in the wall. It took a lot of planning and study to do the job right. I consider it a crowning achievement. But it may have been pointless. I might as well not have set off the explosion, because it looks like you and the forest-walker may never meet. Or you might. What if you wake up and start orbiting inside the room again? The forest-walker may happen upon the hole in the wall just as you reach it. What are the chances? You may both be much older by then, walking even more slowly, wearing grey beards. And what will you talk about? The blast? The trees? The dancing girl? If it happens, I will prepare a feast.

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