The Doors.

January 4, 2009
"When the doors of perception are cleansed
man will see things as they truly are,
Infinite." -William Blake.

Part One.
We go through our whole lives with eyes tightly shut, too scared to look around, afraid we might not like what what we see.
When our eyes are finally opened, the shock is so great it kills us, or drives us to insanity.
I am convinced that every insane man is not truly crazy, but that he just understands things better than everyone else, that he actually sees them.
My eyes have been opened, I can at long last see.
If that should make me crazy, then so be it. For I have gone through experiences enough to drive any man out of his mind, and I would welcome insanity as a break from this mundane existence we call life.
Madness would surely make things easier.

My journey to a cleansed perception began as many journeys do, in the back of a old, beat down car.

Frances has an old 1978 VW Jetta that smells like cigar smoke and mothballs.
It really should be a library, it has the right smell, the thick coating of dust, piles of books on the floor, and leather seats.
But, since it can't be a library, we did the next best thing and named it The Bookmobile.
Though to be completely honest, the vampire would be more appropriate.
It gets 22 miles to the gallon.

There were four of us on the road, cruising at a static 65 with the windows down and our vocal chords cutting into the air with hall the ferocity we could muster.
The air was warm and moist, the wind was high and the sun smiled down on us with all the kindness it knew.
No one could possibly have guessed what that fateful day would bring.
Frances was ( of course) sitting in the drivers seat, his long pale legs barely covered by a pair of colorful Bermuda shorts, a witty t-shirt portraying Buddha covering his meager frame.
Frances has a massive head of poofly brown hair that refuses to obey even the toughest of straighteners, and so it's constantly hiding under a flowered bandanna of some sort.
Moira was sitting in the front passenger seat,she wore a revealing lavender dress that grudgingly reached down to her knees. She bounced along to the music, singing the lyrics loudly as the words came out between her sly, red lips.
Moira has poignant, blue eyes and long slender fingers.
I was in the seat behind her, still in my sleep pants and Joni Mitchell t-shirt, my long blue hair was in greasy, ratty clumps and my eyes were crinkly with sleep, though my pupils shone bright with the keen life of the day.
Next to me- and the last member of our little cadre- sat Dorian. Tall, elegant, beautiful and composed Dorian. With his tight blond curls, dazzling green eyes and Colgate smile.
Dorian was wearing a pair of blue pinstripe pants with a Jeff Buckley shirt and a gray tie that matched the pants. His massive purple sunglasses protected his eyes from the indirect sunlight- just in case it tried to sneak up on.

Frances was the eldest, at 28, Moira the youngest at a mere 20.
Dorian and I were in between them, with Dorian being the second oldest of the group.

We were young, free, and hormonal. Space was at our fingertips and earth at our toes, we could conquer anything we set out to do, and nothing was obscure or unimportant to escape our notice.
We were the gods of the earth.

"Welcome to Illinois, the corrupt state!" Frances let out a whoop of excitement and we all clapped.

"Moira, get us some appropriate music, if you would." Frances kissed her hand dramatically, a big wet kiss with plenty of noise for theatrical effect.
They had been dating since eight grade.

A deathly hush fell over the car as the sound system whirred and clunked to itself, taking a few seconds more than neccsaray to change tunes.
The indie symphonic sounds of Sufjan Stevens Illinois played over the archaic speakers, and we all sighed in relief.
We didn't do well without music.

"You know what I find so astounding about us?" Dorian not only looked like a Greek God, but he had one of those voices that was soft satin and sweet like honey, the kind of voice you could fall asleep to, or stay awake all night for, just listening.

"Our 20/20 vision?" Moira guessed.

Dorian shook his head. "No, but close."

"Ah, I've got it! Our ability to spot superheroes when they're in civilian garb!" I quipped.

Dorian let out a little giggle. "Um... no. not even close."
"We give up. Tell us before the curiosity kills any more cats."

"It's our ability to turn anything-even the most ordinary, insignificant things- into something spectacular." Dorian smiled.

"You mean like a sign welcoming us to Illinois?" I asked.

He nodded, "that, and the dead possum up yonder."

We all looked at the roadkill with interest, ooing and ahhing as we passed by.
Dorian was right, we really did possess a gift.
Our journey had begun in Atlanta, where three of us lived.
This journey was all about finding something new, something exciting.
None of us were sure what exactly we were looking for-if anything. But we knew that if it was out there, then we would know it when we saw it.
one thing we did know, was that there was a lot out there, a lot we saw, that wasn't exciting and new.
Like a giant ball of yarn, a giant lawn chair, and a beer factory. These things we already knew,
these things they had in Atlanta.
Where our journey would end no one really knew, maybe in Illinois, maybe not til we reached California.

But of this we were sure, life was too short, and our friendship was too sweet, to waste it all away making money and building houses. In a few years Frances would graduate Law school and sell his life to a law firm, Dorian was moving to Australia in nineteen months, and Moira would most likely marry Frances.
My future was a wide open canvas, awaiting even the smallest paint stroke to add some direction, some path I could follow.
Right now, however, life was prime for living.

The day bore on, we took turns driving and took turns flicking in and out of sleep.
The music changed constantly but was never silent for more than a few seconds, and the summer air whooshed past us with gaiety, singing a fast paced tune to any who would listen.

We drove on, without direction or an idea of where we were going, just a shared understanding that when the time felt right we would know we had gotten there.
Wherever that may be.

It was night, and Illinois had still not presented us a location suitable, so far it had been a statewide disappointment.

"I'm growing tired of this windy city state. Who says we cut out at the next corner and make for the nearest border state?" Frances asked of the car.
A round of "ayes" confirmed the action, and the massive atlas was brought out from under the seat.

"Alright brave explorers, shall it be Iowa, or Missouri?" Moira adopted a mock accent, lowering her voice to match the part.

I lent forward and had a quick huddle with Dorian, and after a few moments of terse verbal sparring we agreed on a location.

"Set a course to St. Louis! To the gateway of the Midwest we shall crusade!" Frances broke into a fit of laughter at my comical accent and the arm I had thrust forward importantly while saying this.

"Sure thing skippy. But you realize Missouri is a good five hours farther than Iowa?"

"Psh, you talk about it like it's a matter of decades. What's five extra hours when there are so many left in the year?" To others the banter might seem forced, but this was how we talked,
this is who we were.

We set out for St. Louis.

Moira switched places with Dorian and he drove us ever onward into the dark, meanwhile the rest of us feel asleep.

Gateway to the Midwest, here we come.

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