I had a very definite destination. I had things to do, people to see, and I didn’t have time for any distractions. Damn it, there was just too much to do.
It was an ordinary street—houses on either side with neat little yards and pretty painted shutters. Windows darkened so you might wonder what is happening inside. Children’s toys in the yards, a pink tricycle overturned on the front walk of a house that on closer inspection wasn’t as neat as the others. I briefly wondered what that meant. Did the child drop it and run inside when mama called her to dinner, or did mama come outside and drag her by the arm off the tricycle and into the house with a swat on the butt. I wondered about that little girl.
I had paused in front of that house and stared, my destination forgotten for the moment. The house had nothing to say. I wondered why I had been so drawn to it and cursed myself for having stopped. I had things to do; get on with it.
I turned the corner into the next street, determined to avoid any additional distractions, but I wasn’t prepared for what I saw.
Green vines and leaves cascaded down from the top of a wall that stretched out along a broken sidewalk. A fragrance floated on the breeze from the masses of leaves and vines. I looked for the flowers that must be there, but there were none—at least none that I could see. I moved closer to the wall and lifted one of the pale green leaves. A succulent. I squeezed it, allowing the juices to run down through my fingers. That was where the fragrance came from. Sweet, somewhat spicy, soothing.
I walked along the wall dragging my hand through the vines, feeling their strength when they failed to yield and wondering at their delicacy when they broke off and fell to the sidewalk. Then it was there before me.
I had pulled the vines away and realized there was a path, a walkway, through the wall. It was dark and cool when I stepped inside, surrounded by more vines and the arched branches of the trees hanging above my head. At the end of the walk was a gate. I studied it carefully. What was on the other side? Did I dare? Intoxicated by the fragrance of this bower, I approached the gate with a new determination.
I hesitated for only the briefest moment before I pulled the gate open. I certainly wasn’t expecting what I saw before me.