The Way Out Is The Way In
The Way Out Is The Way In7 mins 960 7 mins 960
“GET OUT!” With a slam, the door shut, leaving a young seven-year-old girl sprawling on the ground in the dreary downpour outside. To ever imagine that her very own parents would disown a prodigy like her, was an unexpected shock.
Slowly, she picked herself up from the wet street. She stared up at the intimidating door. What was she going to do now? She didn’t know. But what she did know was that she was never going back. With one last, swift look, she tore her gaze away from the door, and set off down the narrow street. She walked on a path she had walked on so many times before that she knew the way from memory. She was soon swallowed by the gloom.
She stumbled along the cobbled path, shivering in the cold. The patter of the rain seemed to be the only sound in the neighbourhood. The clouds looked pure black in the dead of the night. Forked lightning flashed from overhead. The wind howled, lashing out at tree branches. The street lights glowed a faint, sickly shade of yellow as she passed between patches of darkness and light. It was as if the ambience of the area was sharing the mind of the little girl.
She had started getting over her blow. Her initial shock had turned to cold determination. She was not going to cry. She was going to strike out on her own. But when she tried to think of the next course of action, the only thing she could think of was… architecture. She was fascinated by this chink of light in a dark void. What she liked about it was that it was a form of escapism; she could always forget the world when involved in architecture. She also loved studying ancient ruins. That was her favourite thing about architecture: to know that others had pursued this career centuries before her, to know that she was not alone, was a comforting thought.
However, she was a little afraid of pursuing architecture. Once, she was designing a model house in her bedroom. Unfortunately, its foundation was unstable, and it collapsed. Her pet fish had been crushed by the wreckage. The fish died.
This news was devastating. To think that the loss of a life was because of her incompetence, was too much to take. But ever since, she was hardened with pain and misery, and her mind was always resolute.
The journey onward was not a depressing one. Yes, it was freezing cold. Yes, the girl’s stomach was howling in hunger. And yes, she was broken from the inside. But her destination: that’s what kept her going. She pushed away thoughts of coldness, hunger and despair: she focused on what was at the end of the road. Some say that the journey was more important than the destination; in her case, however, the destination was what helped her survive the journey.
Finally, she reached her destination. The museum. She had always liked it there; it had a close connection with architecture. It was a grand building, with sky high towers and turrets. It almost looked like a castle. It was made of brilliant, white marble. Glass windows gleamed in the dim light. It looked strong, formidable; but strangely, in a warm, welcoming way. The girl didn’t feel intimidated by it at all. She felt thrilled, exhilarated by the fact that she could truly understand this amazing place; she felt like she had been let on in a secret nobody else knew.
She settled down contently near the gates. The rain had subsided to a light and pleasant drizzle. She was calm for the first time in years. She relished the cool breeze on her face. The ground was softer than she expected; unusually soft. And for the first time ever, she didn’t have to worry about getting up early. She had all the time in the world to herself.
Just as she started dozing off, the wind picked up. The breeze turned into a gale. Leaves started flying everywhere, and the wind started howling again. The girl woke up, a bit upset at the unfortunate turn of events. Though it did not trouble her, the wind kept her awake for a long time.
And then, something suddenly slapped into her face. She inhaled sharply. She couldn’t see. She thought it was a leaf: but it felt larger than one. Peeling it off her face, she held it in her hands. It was a piece of old paper. She tried reading it, but it was too dark.
She walked over to the nearest street light. In its yellow light, she studied the page. It wasn’t a page from a storybook. After scrutinising it for a few seconds, she realised that it was a map.
She squinted. It was a map of her city. But it didn’t seem to be accurate. She couldn’t find common landmarks, like the library. She studied it even closer. It was most definitely a map of her city. But what kind of a map would have a general outline of a place, but not look like the place at all?
The truth hit her hard, like a brick had been dropped into her stomach. An underground map! She looked at it even closer. Soon, she let out a delighted gasp. It was a map of some ancient ruins.
Her adrenaline shot up. She frantically scanned the map for an entrance. And she saw it. It was near the museum, right below where she was sleeping this whole time!
She sprinted towards the gates of the museum. She felt the ground. It was soft. Unusually soft. She knew it: she had to dig up the ground to unveil the entrance. Without wasting any time, she started digging.
The sky was brightening: morning was almost here. She dug and dug and dug. And then before she knew it, her hands scraped something hard. She sucked in her breath with excitement. She quickly dusted off the dirt, and she saw something underneath: a trapdoor.
Her breathing was shallow as she stared at the trapdoor. It had strange symbols on it. They looked like they were letters, except they weren’t in English. It took her a moment to recognize them. They were hieroglyphs, the alphabet of the Egyptians.
Enthusiastically, she heaved open the trapdoor. When she opened it, she gazed down into the hole. She couldn't see anything; it was so dark. Without hesitating, she jumped down into the hole.
Almost immediately, she landed on something really soft. Sand.
She scooped up a handful of sand grains and watched them trickle through her hand, looking exhilarated beyond words. It was a fundamental rule: sand always meant ancient Egypt.
She stood up, looking around her. The sky above was more than bright enough for her to see without a flashlight. And she did indeed see something. It was a staircase leading upwards. A portal to the unknown. A whole new world.
And then she understood. The only way that she was going to get over her fear of architecture was to embrace it. The only way she was going to get cured was to get involved in in once again.
The little girl’s face was alight with happiness. Her wish had come true. Her passion as an architect could stand out today. A world that she could understand lay beneath her: a world that was just waiting to be discovered.
Just then, dawn broke out. The pale sunlight shone in all its glory. Light streamed into the hole she was in. The Birds chirped in the air. It was perfect. She set off in the darknestos, radiating nothing but light. For today, it was her day to shine.