The Narrow Way
Published: July 21, 2008
The gallery stretched out before him, a narrow hallway made all the more claustrophobic by the gilt frames that protruded almost two whole inches from the wall. At the other end of the gallery was a doorway, and through the white, half-open door, he could make just make out the room beyond it.
He didnít want to walk through the gallery, didnít want to see the pictures on the wall, didnít want to cross to the room beyond.
But he'd been here before, and he knew what would happen--what always happened. His feet began to move of their own accord, pulled along by a force he couldn't explain.
He began to walk slowly forward, turning slightly as he began to make his way through the gallery, pivoting left and right as he tried to avoid bumping his shoulders against the frames. He tried to keep his eyes focused on the door beyond.
He would have tried anything to keep from seeing the paintings on the wall.
But he saw them all the same. Turning to avoid banging into the frames meant he saw each of them in turn.
Not that he had to see them. He knew them--every colour, every brushstroke by heart.
He'd lived the pictures. Every cruel act, every slight, every hateful thing he'd ever done to people who never deserved it--they hung on these walls and, seeing them in lurid colour, he couldnít help but see them and remember all he'd done and to whom, no matter how much he wanted to forget.
With shaking hands, he pushed open the door with an almost desperate motion. The only thing inside the bare, windowless room a simple wooden chair, dried and warped with time and age.
His body trembled he sat in the chair, staring out at the open door and the view of the gallery beyond. He rested his elbows on his knees and put his head in his hands.
His body hunched inward and he began to cry, sobs wracking his entire body and echoing against the bare white walls of the room.