That’s how it looks like… That’s how it feels like.
After I finished reading “11.22.63” from Stephen King, my first book of his I couldn’t help but wonder how much this experience sounds like something that is so surreal than can only be a dream or a fiction novel. What a surprise since my life has always been a fiction novel.
‘One day Maya looked through the key hole, she was only 10 but not like Alice who saw a beautiful garden, she saw mystery, elegance and a possibility. When her sweat instead of her tears took her to this new land, she couldn’t quite figure out how to fit in, even though she tried, she was an actress after all. She tried being herself exactly as she was back home and she observed. This was the only way to be truthful to the character. Maya actually was named Mayara, but she adopted the “new name” to fit in, or at least to give people something to pronounce properly. And to think that once in her life she would have begged to have a nick name.
Slowly she made friends, she met people she could trust and others that were alike. A new reality. She couldn’t go back in time and reset everything, but it was a chance to do it all over again, start from scratch. It looked like the locals accepted her in their group and they actually liked her back, oh well not everyone, but that is how it is anywhere in an adventure. She attended classes and tried to explain how it was in her world, how her university worked, what she had done, learned, the old tricks from the old life. It was funny that no matter why, people couldn’t value things that had always been so important to her. Here nobody had heard of her University nor could they fathom her struggles. In the end she learned how to play the Uni game, all over again. The exams, the social groups, the mistakes, the parties.
Eventually she learned how to move around, the places to go, who to talk to. She blended in the picture. Interestingly she also felt younger, like she was at least 4 years younger, given a second chance to be 19. Alice drank from bottles and ate cake to get bigger or smaller. Maybe there was the water. Who would know? Nobody there was getting married, nobody had a child or planned to, everyone was in the beginning. Again. A new life. Wake up without worries. Sleep as much as she could, do whatever she wanted. But could she think that this new life was a reality? Was it possible? Could she grow used to it? The fear of letting it slip away was one of the nightmares.
Like in Stephen King’s book life was easier, slower, quieter, funnier, younger. And also this new reality was far different from her own. She learned to be much more independent not only in home issues but in Uni. She trusted and valued herself much more now. Her old life seemed like an echo from the past or future. “The past harmonises” That is what the author always says. It surely does. Even though a lot is different, a lot is the same. Some of the biggest fears never disappeared and she ended up remembering who she had once been. And the same way the campus is a lot alike hers, her friends are a lot like her old ones and she learned how to live her new life seeing the beauty in this harmonisations.
“But there is no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.” – Alice
Maya started believing that she was in the right place described in her books and seen in tv shows like Downton Abbey and Jane Austen’s. Learning about the story, meeting the people, walking around. All of this. Did it make part of her now? Could she accept it as hers? Deep inside she knew it isn’t possible. The people are not her people, they still have a different composition. Not material, but different and she thought it quite impossible to be transformed that way. She found herself pretty similar and receptive of some behaviours and some logics. The looks also didn’t upset her at all. But inside her heart she knew she could never belong. Dressing up their clothes did not make her one of them, speaking their language did not mean that she shared an accent. Learning their history didn’t mean she shared it. She could never have those things, she could never completely be what she wanted. She could act as if, she could desire it, she could dream of it. No matter how great everything and everyone was, she still felt like a dream.’
Perhaps Alice didn’t really find the garden. The white rabbit, her first obsession wasn’t really that exciting. However none of all of this was a disappointment. She had her dream, she took words, pictures, songs, added her personal touch and ended up with her whole new world. One that only existed in her dreams and no one would ever be able to visit, but her.
“Just because it is happening in your dreams, Harry, doesn’t mean it isn’t real.” – Albus Dumbledore