“Do you feel different when you pass through these doors? Do you feel enlightened?”

Pawing at my face, I see the sadness in the circles around her eyes. She looks sad even when she’s happy. I’m not sure what she is now; it’s hard to tell. I’m not even sure what I am, come to think of it. I think we’re both happy. After all, if we weren’t, we wouldn’t be climbing this tree.

“I wouldn’t say it makes me feel enlightened. That’s a bit pompous—especially for the likes of a bum writer like me. No, if anything, it makes me feel lost.”

“Lost?” she says, somewhat disappointedly.

“Well, maybe not lost, as such, that’s a little over the top. More like, disorientated.”

Swatting away the fly that’s buzzing about our heads, she frowns while almost losing her footing.

“That doesn’t sound much better.”

Watching the fly as it leaves us to bother Hachikō further along the branch, I glimpse the violet clouds in the sky over Meeko’s shoulder. They resemble mushrooms. I don’t like mushrooms, but it’s an impressive sight nonetheless

“When I pass through these doors, it causes me to become temporarily untethered. It’s like I’m experiencing different layers of time all at once.”

“What’s the point of that?” she huffs.

“The point,” I reply, “as I’ve said, is that time is non-linear. It’s not supposed to be experienced in one continuous stream. The doors show me this. By stepping through these doors, they allow me to break free of my chains.”

“And when you break them, it leaves you feeling disorientated?”

“Yes. It’s the dizziness of freedom.”

“That’s very good,” she says, “I like that term.”

“It’s not mine,” I reply reluctantly.

“Doesn’t matter. By using it, you’ve allowed me to see the purpose of these doors quite clearly.”

X and I: A Novel and A Journal for Damned Lovers on Amazon UK

X and I: A Novel and A Journal for Damned Lovers on Amazon US

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