The Golden Key

One day, you will meet a girl, and her eyes will be a color you cannot name, her perfume a scent you cannot describe. She will be the prettiest girl in the room, but it will not be her beauty that dazzles you, nor her exotic clothes, nor the loveliness of her skin.

She will know what you are going to say before you say it, and you will finish her sentences, the words as obvious to you as the sunlight. And she will talk to you of things you have always known in your heart, the secrets the stars whisper to you while you sleep.

You will dance on grassy meadows in the misty sunrise and swim the still waters of hidden lakes while the egrets catch their breakfast around you. She will lead you to abandoned cottages and together you will poke through the furniture left behind, finding forgotten gems and mementos of lives long past.

She will lead you down dark passages that open suddenly into noisy rooms, full of smoke and subversive passion. You will turn corners on empty streets to find unexpected street fairs full of light and music and color.

You will walk on living carpets as they flash bright colors in crystal caves, light rippling along the ceiling and the surf roaring outside. She will lead you through the glittering waters to warm lagoons swirling with bright fish. The cobalt shadows of behemoths will engulf you as you paddle on the calm seas, oblivious to your flimsy presence as they slowly pass beneath you on their journey to the dark chasms of the world.

And she will take you to glistening towers that float in the air. You will whirl her uninvited through ballrooms full of glittering strangers, everyone convinced they know you, none sure where from. She will feed you rare delicacies and fine infusions snatched from the trays of solemn stewards. You will walk on high terraces, and cross bridges of glass over rivers of steel, the angry lights racing far below you.

You will chase her between golden shafts of sunlight slanting through the amber mists of ancient forests, making no sound at all on the pine needles underfoot. You will make love on soft beds of moss a thousand years thick, the forest echoing with birdsong around you.

She will walk with you through enormous halls of machines racketing their important purposes, stepping between the iridescent rainbows of spilt fuel, the smell of burnt rubber and ozone heavy on the air. You will find hidden rooms filled with dusty banks of knobs and dials and stacks of yellowed paper, covered with neatly meaningless rows of numbers.

She will lead you to high mountain passes where you turn to see the whole world at your feet. You will watch brightly colored lizards snatch at the butterflies swept to the heights. You will clamber together over craggy peaks where the deer do not flee at your approach, and explore plunging gorges as the waters crash past on their way to the depths of the earth.

And she will pluck delicious blue and purple fruits from trees unknown to you, and show you the secret places where outlandish birds come to drink in peace. You will run giggling and panting through the wood paneled halls of ancient institutions, your hearts beating as one, pausing only to leave sunglasses and gaudy scarves on the marble busts of the founders.

And one day, she will take the golden key from her neck and turn it in a crystal lock. She will open a door that isn’t there, and you will be gone from the world of men.

But is this a warning, or a promise? I do not know, my son, I do not know.