I could see again – I had gone from one extreme to another in a split second and even my reason had found cause to be roused by the dazzling contrast. By One way and then another I had come back to the university campus and it now was time to strengthen my mind to carry on. I struggled to regain the track of what was literally my mission and researched the streets of the city for inspiration. It seemed to have been built along geometric lines, with some digressions because of its significant age, and I felt as if I was able to form an outline plan of the area. It was a bit like a maze and, in order to find what I was looking for, the longed-for Elysium fields, I would need to work my way outwards round the spiral in an anti-clockwise direction, taking care not to get distracted by the ginger-bread house, which would pose the greatest hazard for me in the immediate vicinity. I wondered if the day would last long enough for me to make it to the next one without journeying through night.
Somewhere along the line I took the trouble to find the house where I had passed part of my most privileged childhood, a grand seventeenth century edifice with sandstone walls and acres of lawns. Transposed to that enchanting memory I reverted back to the laughter of those younger years, and lost myself without resistance to an overwhelming desire to explore that fabulous house.
I was only sorry that it was empty as my sisters and I raced through the ballroom, still pregnant with the atmosphere of festivity from bygone days. Where could it be, where could it be, the secret within the walls, the reason for my being there again. I ran up to the attics, which had always seemed to me like the most wonderful part of the house, through tunnels of secret passages, miles of hidden corridors, a child’s fantasy made real. I was so glad to be back again, but so sorry we could not stay and that all the others had gone away from this, our dream home, abode of our relative ancestors. I would return over and again, each time to a different room, or the same rooms in a different time, but it was never so perfect as it had been then.
It could have take a long time to work my way to the outskirts of the city, or it could have happened relatively quickly. Whatever the case may have been, at the next junction for pause I found myself stationed on a pleasant leafy avenue which was at a T-junction with the main road back into the city. I saw the tops of the buildings in the distance, turning to shadows in the approaching twilight, and felt a slight shiver of exposure –I had taken a wrong turn. I looked behind me and with a start of genuine fear saw the small sweet house with a curl of smoke snaking openly out into the now dusky sky.