Vacation to the Nation of Imagination

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Vacation to the Nation of Imagination

“WHY DON’T YOU JUST LEAVE ME ALONE, I HATE YOU!”

Those were the words I had yelled indignantly and rather heatedly to my parents after grounding me for a month for “being rude”. My goodness, that’s like locking someone up in prison for attempted murder! Hardly a crime.
But for now there was little I could do, so I decided I would suppress my rage and lie on my bed. Staring up at my ceiling, I suddenly felt the whole weight of the world plunge off of my shoulders as I kicked into a calm and harmonious temperament. I could breathe again, things suddenly didn’t seem so bad…

CHOO CHOOOO!
Startled, I quickly sat up and swivelled my head around so quickly I almost pull a muscle in my neck. What the bloody hell could that be?

CHOOOOOOO CHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
The deafening horn sounds again, causing me to lose it completely. I sprinted out of my bedroom and began running around in circles in panic, flailing my arms about in every possible direction like those adorable inflatable men you always see out the front of vacuum cleaner stores. After having my little traumatic moment, I calmed down and realised there was a train parked in the middle of the hallway. Bemused, it came to my attention that the train only had one carriage which seemed to only have room for a single compartment, which I ultimately guessed was mine.

“ALL ABOARD, and all faith in life shall be RESTORED!” a deep, booming voice sounded from behind me, once again frightening the bejesus out of me.

I turned around and BAM! Smack bang in front of me was probably the most hilariously perfect face I had ever seen, for it was the kind and hearty face of an old man sporting the greatest, thickest snow white moustache that I had ever seen. Brandishing a ravishing white tuxedo accompanied with a pair of white Converse canvas shoes, a fuchsia coloured tie and a similarly coloured top hat, the man pulled out a white walking cane and gracefully twirled around and performed a graceful leap, showing off some of the funkiest and grooviest dance moves that he possessed in his repertoire. He ended with a gentlemanly bow, and finally stepped forward as a notion of his introduction.

“Hiya kid, I’m Mr. Moustachio! And yes my favourite nut IS indeed the postachio, glad you asked! Today I’m going to be your train driver, ooooh I’m a survivor! Why am I rhyming, you wonder why? I’m JOLLY is why I’m feeling as high as the sky! Hohohohoho!” the incredibly upbeat man chortled.

I just stood there goofily for a few minutes, limbs tingling and my mouth smiling involuntarily. To hell with stranger danger I thought to myself, a dude who possesses THIS level of hilarity can take me wherever he pleases! It was honestly as if Dr. Seuss had a lovechild with Rich Uncle Pennybags from the Monopoly board game, and I loved both.
“Mr. Moustachio, you are magnificent and I think I love you already. But I must ask, where is this train going?”

He chuckled enthusiastically.
“Ahhh young man, this train will take you somewhere amazing, somewhere you won’t be able to refrain from praising, it’s a world of perfection, where one shan’t ever experience rejection, it welcomes all!”

“Where?!” I exclaimed excitedly.

“Well boy, I am filled with elation and exhilaration to inform you that the location of this train’s destination is at the station of your vacation, the Nation of Imagination! Feelin’ the temptation?” Mr. Moustachio gleefully proclaimed as he sent a rather vivacious wink my way. It wasn’t in the slightest bit creepy either, he was just happy to be here and as was I! I didn’t bother to respond because I was certain my body language and my elated facial expression was more than enough to give away my intentions. He realised this and nodded, and with a tip of his hat he turned around and waltzed towards the front of the train. The door of the train’s carriage then flung open, prompting me to joyfully skip inside and take my seat. I glanced outside the window, suddenly curious as to how the train could possibly leave the confinements of my house but to my bewilderment, I was no longer there.

The doors of my carriage opened once more as I stepped off the train and onto a platform made entirely out of bubble wrap.
“We’re here, musketeer! Welcome to the Nation of Imagination, the most delightful creation of the utmost fascination!” Mr. Moustachio announced as he too, stepped off the train and onto the platform. Without any prior warning, he began to stamp up and down in an enterprising fashion almost rhythmically, as if he were playing the cymbals in a marching band.

I grinned at him, and then followed suit. The sound of those tiny little bubbles having the air popped out of them were music to my ears, I had found paradise.
“Come on now son, we haven’t all day… so follow me, and let us go play!” Mr. Moustachio gleefully cried as he dashed away. I must admit, his boundless energy and charisma was beginning to rub off on me rather easily, the man was like a kid in a toy store.

I followed him behind the station platform and out of nowhere, wide-eyed, my jaw dropped in sheer amazement.
“Oopsy doopsy! You know you just might need this, how else will you taste and savour the juices of this fine world’s bliss?” Mr. Moustachio laughed as he picked up my jaw off the ground, reattaching it to my face with a swift flick of his wrist.

I looked around and instantly felt a warm, fuzzy feeling of pure euphoria. Everything I loved, everything that made me happy, everything that I could possibly have ever wished for was all here, in this one, special place.

I looked up to see hundreds of dragons breathed scorching flames as they darted through the sky, their scales of gold glistening as their intimidating wings thrashed about in the sunlit sky. I looked to my left to see my beloved Melbourne Heart F.C. playing a game of soccer in the most gigantic, atmospheric stadium one could ever possibly dream of, with everyone in the arena chanting as they held up their team’s red and white scarf with pride. I looked to my right to see all of my favourite video game characters standing right there in flesh, with the likes of Mario donning his famous plumbing attire, Donkey Kong devouring a giant hoard of bananas and a group of wild Pokemon interacting playfully in a tall patch of fresh grass.

In awe, I raised my arms to the heavens and spun around in circles, discovering more and more and more and more that I loved about this place, the Nation of Imagination. As I pirouetted happily, I saw clouds made of fairy floss, a clan of pirates who cleaned their dishes by throwing them into the ocean, monkeys wearing sunglasses, black leather jackets and stylish haircuts as they climbed up trees and into their canopy hideout, and a colossal army of snowmen camped inside a gargantuan sized igloo! I saw dancing tacos wearing sombreros as they played the maracas, unicorns that spewed out rainbows as they soared like shooting stars, a village home to a box of hot chips where fireworks were made of chicken salt and rain was made of tomato sauce, and a seemingly endless water slide that looped and zoomed and surged and eventually rocketed into a balmy pool full of chirpy dolphins. And then there was her.

The most beautiful girl I had ever laid my eyes upon, every single aspect of her just screamed utter perfection. Her chocolate coloured hair, so wavy it bounced as she walked, her eyes of a slightly darker shade of brown stared into mine as I returned her gaze, fixated on her elegance, her beauty, her finesse. And my word, that smile. Her dimples. Everything about her. She’s mine and nobody else can have her, I thought to myself. I then approached the girl cautiously, intending to kiss her gently quivering lips. As our lips were almost about to lock onto one another, I closed my eyes and softly whispered, “I never want to leave this place.”

Lips still pursed but not receiving the delicate touch that I had anticipated, I opened my eyes in disappointment, also feeling a tinge of embarrassment. The girl rolled her eyes at me and stormed off, but she wasn’t the only one who seemed to be upset by my antics. I’ve never been the smoothest of movers, granted. But I must have done something wrong as what seemed to be the entirety of the Nation of Imagination immediately began to crumble before my very eyes, the dragons, the tacos, the water slide… everything was vanishing from view, as if my behaviour had caused the catastrophic downfall of this very world I longed to call home. I thought this was meant to be a place of perfection, where there was no rejection?

On the verge of emotionally breaking down, I managed to catch a glimpse of a concerned looking Mr. Moustachio who no longer looked his erratic, jovial self. Letting out a somewhat unsure, muffled sigh, he spoke to me.
“Young man, t’was not your experience with the lady that turned this world shady. T’was those words you spoke, that caused the smoke! Now the alarm bells are ringing, and your heart is stinging. Now I’m speaking jibberish, so instead I’ll ditch the rhymes as you’d most likely wish.”

Glassy-eyed, I choked on my words as I attempted to respond to Mr. Moustachio.
“What did I do wrong? I like it here, and I don’t want to leave.”

Mr. Moustachio let out an almost sympathetic chuckle, before firmly grasping my shoulders.
“You can’t stay here forever young man, that’s not what this place is about! Sure, here is where you’re happiest, it’s an escape from reality, it’s paradise! Here, nobody can hurt you and here is where you feel most safe. But it’s not real my boy, it’s all in your head.”

“I… conjured all of this myself?” I queried, although I already knew the answer.

Mr. Moustachio smiled and nodded in affirmation.
“Exploring and traversing across the realms of your imagination is something which stimulates creativity, something which should be encouraged by all! But it is also something that can be dangerous and somewhat detrimental to one’s own mind if misused. Your imagination can often be the perfect place to escape from the real world where you experience daily hardships and challenges, and into a fantastical world full of your own positive thoughts and imagery where you can shut out all of the bad things in life. But if one dwells in their own self-created false reality for too long, the contrast between what is real and what is fiction becomes thinner and thinner until eventually, your own perception of the real world will be affected. The real world, where actions have consequences will become nothing but a mere, figment of your imagination, the truth will be veiled and your psychological well-being will suffer. So it does pain me to tell you this young lad, but you cannot stay here. But what you can do, is draw from your experiences here and put them to good use in the real world. Sure, you can come and visit and we will always welcome you with open arms here in the Nation of Imagination! But you must do so rationally and responsibly, you now know that.”

At first I was gutted, I had wanted to stay here forever. I truly did, everything was just perfect. But I knew the old man Mr. Moustachio was right, I had friends and family back in the real world who loved me and cared for me, and it was about time I started showing them that love in return. I couldn’t even begin to contemplate just how they would feel if I stayed here for the rest of my days. Upon further evaluation, I came to the conclusion that life was pretty great after all and lingering about in my own thoughts for eternity was an act that would not be feasible, nor sustainable.

Mr. Moustachio offered me his hand in friendship and we engaged in a staunch shaking of hands. Boarding at the front of the train, he beckoned for me to also oblige. After a few moments, the train departed from the platform at the station for the Nation of Imagination, loosely reminding me of Harry Potter and the Hogwarts Express. In a few swift moments, the train soon came to a standing halt in the middle of my hallway. As I leapt out of the carriage and began to retire to my room and most likely bed, I heard Mr. Moustachio’s voice call out to me.
“You’re not going to forget to say goodbye to me now, art thou? Be sure to come back soon! But for now I bid you good day, as I whistle this tune.”

Although I tried and miserably failed to hide it, I gave a little curl of the lip and had a laugh to myself before waving goodbye to that bizarre, eccentric man who had taught me so much in such little time. With a fresh and newly invigorated sense of optimism about myself, I decided that I would offer a genuinely sincere apology to my parents and see where things would go from there. I still knew deep down that I would board that train again one day soon but for now, my actions had consequences and I decided it was of my best interests to take responsibility for them and take on the real world.





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