Academic journal article Making Connections

Zauberstiege

Academic journal article Making Connections

Zauberstiege

Article excerpt

Staircases are mysterious inventions. They do much more than simply lead up and down. Of course, you wouldn't think so. But believe me: if you had experienced what I have, you'd think differently. Not long ago, staircases were magical and sweet to me. Every time I climbed them up to the attic, they took me to different worlds. Sadly, they don't do that anymore. They have turned into seductive and destructive objects. I'm not lying when I say that there has not been a single staircase I've passed without climbing. At the end of them all, there are usually doors. Sometimes those doors are open, sometimes they are locked. I truly hate when they are locked, for I have no way to see what is behind them. For my own sake I like to think that none of the locked doors is door.

His office is in one of those old narrow buildings with a lot of stairs and no elevators. Three steps lead to his door. The same number of steps I used to climb to Lotus's house. Next to his office entrance, I see another door. My heart begins to beat fast at the thought of finding more steps behind it. Fortunately, the door is unlocked. It leads to a staircase, which goes up to the next floor with apartments and more stairs up to a third floor with more apartments, and then there is another door with some more stairs leading up to the attic. I barely dare to breathe. Could this be another ? Could I have finally found it? I slowly walk up the stairs. Sweat pours out of my pores and my heart races when I push down the door handle. The door does not move. Is it locked? I push again. The door creaks. I push one more time, and then the door opens to an ordinary attic with a lot of boxes and dust.

I swallow. I try not to be disappointed but I am. Very much, indeed.

I walk back down the flights and ring his doorbell. I'm only a few minutes late.

His office looks very much like Lotus's living room: its shape, its wooden floor, the couch and the coffee table, the lit fireplace, and the two windows. Surprisingly, the entire furniture is also arranged in the same order. I immediately feel at home.

"I'm pleased to see you accepted my invitation," he says and offers me a seat. His outfit is professional, despite seeing me at such a late hour, when dusk has long passed and I'd normally be sitting on my couch at home to watch some TV before going to bed. He insisted we should meet in a neutral and private place-his office-so I could talk openly without interruptions. Of course, he packaged it as if he wanted to offer me help, and I'm sure he meant it, but he is also a scientist who sees a case in me to crown his excellent career. I don't remember how we even came to talk about my "case." I mentioned Lotus in my introductory speech at the ball, but I didn't say her name. I simply called her "a friend" and shared the trips we'd taken together and her view on cultural diversity. After the speech, he immediately came up to me and introduced himself. We talked about traveling for a while before he, out of the blue, asked me if I had had any interesting dreams lately. I don't even know why, but I told him about my reoccurring dream. In fact, I said much more than I intended to and even confessed to him how much I was in love with Lotus. For some reason, I immediately felt connected to him. He somehow reminds me of her, although he is not even foreign, nor does he look like her. Indeed, the idea seems rather absurd, and I've come to believe that I am in urgent need of sharing my story with someone who's willing to listen. It's probably mere chance that it happens to be him.

"The weather is pretty nasty out there, isn't it?" he says, putting a jug of water and two glasses in front of me. "Please, help yourself." He sits down in a black leather chair. "I'm really pleased you accepted my invitation despite the nasty weather," he repeats.

"The weather doesn't bother me much," I reply. "I enjoy the rain."

"Do you? That's quite rare."

"I believe so. …

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