I had forgotten what freedom meant. Sure, there is always the notion that freedom is a political concept, or something to do with not being in jail or prison. But there is an inherent freedom of spirit, and this spirit is almost always found in the innocence of children. Everything is new, nothing is impossible, the world is magic.
I sat in the reclining chair on the porch of the cabin thinking back to those times where I understood what pure freedom was like. Nearing my eighty-fifth year, memories weren't so easy anymore, but I could still feel that spark of magic hidden inside me. Of course, the magic wasn't just inside me. I remembered perfectly the day Simon and I found the small door in grandpa's shed. Simon had talked me into climbing into the shed through an unlocked window in the back where we could not be seen.
I fiddled with all the rusty tools and machines. Simon shushed me when I accidentally knocked over a glass jar of screws and nails. We both froze, but after a moment we relaxed, confident we weren't heard after all. Then Simon whispered "Hey, look at this." I lazily turned around and pushed passed the lawnmower. There in the floor was a door. The door was pressed into the wooden floor of the shed. It was ornate, with elegant spirals carved on its surface, and a glimmering handle made of glass. It even had hinges made of faded gold that screwed into the floor.
"What is that?" I asked although not really expecting an answer from Simon. The look on his face told me he knew as little as I did.
"Should we open it?" He asked, a mixture of fear and giddiness splayed across his face.
"Sure. But it was your idea to come in here so you open it." I replied. I may have been a 12 year old Tom Boy, but I was still enough of a girl to have some common sense. Tentatively, Simon reached his had around the glass handle, took another look at me, then twisted the knob slowly. A warm light escaped out of the door as he swung it wide. To our confusion, we realized the door led down, but we were looking at a flat landscape. A field as far as one could see with trees on either side. It was dizzying to stare downward into a world that seemed sideways. I took a step back, but then suddenly realizing Simon was stepping into the door.
"Simon!" I shrieked, but then clamped my hand over my mouth to stifle my outburst. Simon was grinning ear to ear as he dipped his leg through the door.
Then more of him went and before I knew it, he was standing in the field through the doorway. He looked back at me and beckoned with his arm.
"Come on!" He said. "It's warm here. I think I hear a stream. Come on, sis!" He thrust his hand through the door from below me. I still couldn't get the angle right, but after I took his hand, I closed my eyes. Simon pulled me through. As I slowly opened my eyes, I could see two suns in the sky beaming down across a field of what I first thought was grass. I leaned closer to see small, green fronds of animals, like the ones found in the coral reefs in the ocean. They flitted back and forth, occasionally snagging a small insect out of the air.
I heard the stream nearby as well, and turned toward the line of trees. "What do you think this place is? Are we in danger, Simon?"
"I don't know, sis. I don't think so. It feels nice here. Like clothes right after mom takes them out of the dryer. I want to find that stream, you coming?" I hesitated at first, but seeing Simon bounding merrily toward the trees, I followed. We passed through the tree line almost at once, both of us sprinting now, and came to a small gorge filled with purple water. I saw fish in the water, glowing with rainbow lights. I rubbed my eyes thinking I was seeing an illusion, but when I looked again the fish still glowed luminescent under the clear, purple water.
I began to spin in circles, my head raised to the canopy above. Suddenly I found myself laughing uncontrollably. Simon joined in. All at once, we both fell to the ground, dizzy and laughing like mad people. Simon looked at me. "I told you grandpa was hiding something in there, didn't I?"
"Yeah, but how did you know?"
"Because every time he came out of the shed, he had a big smile on his face. That's how."