Long-time member of NYWC’s workshop at the 14th Street Y Doris Shores passed away recently. We were lucky to write with her and get to read her work. Doris read in our Write Makes Might reading and her work was published in the book 14th Street Gold: Seasoned Thoughts and in Dig Deep, NYWC’s online magazine. She will be missed in the NYWC community, especially by her fellow workshop members at the 14th Street Y.
The story below, “New York Fantasy,” appeared in Seasoned Thoughts.
New York Fantasy
You are chatting on the phone in your living room or in that windowless bit of square footage known as “the dining area.” Winding down the conversation, you’re already on your feet, one hand casually braced against the wall when, to your astonishment, it silently begins to pivot slowly, swinging open . . .
And meeting your shocked eyes, there it is: that extra room of your daydreams. You get off the phone fast. “Gotta go,” you babble. “Someone’s at the door”—that “someone” being you yourself, of course; “the door” being the threshold of a large room you’ve never seen before.
Dimly aware that your mouth is hanging open, you slip inside to explore the unfurnished space. One glance reveals the lovely bone structure of the room. Breathless, you take it all in: the beautiful proportions, fireplace, parquet floor, the bay window through which the sun is shining.
You tour the room, marveling. Oh, you could get used to this. And then you grin, owning it. So what’s it going to be? You’ve already got the basics: living room, bedroom, dining area, and so forth. Now you can also have—what? A media room, maybe. A gym, why not. A study or, better yet, a library . . . That’s it, a library. Just what you have always wanted. You love the prospect: shelves here, more shelves there, a big writing table, an easy chair and ottoman—
But another thought occurs to you: What if a wall here in this new room has its own secret spot? Once pressed, wouldn’t that segment pivot too? You imagine infinitely repeating images in facing mirrors hung just so—might not a similar principle apply to rooms? You dash about, sweaty hands leaving fingerprints in your mighty effort to reach the next room in, surely, a whole grand series.
Mid-dash, instinct warns you: Something’s wrong. You freeze. Then, out of the corner of your eye, you catch sight of the slow swinging shut of the very wall that had earlier let you in. You can’t scramble out fast enough, terrified of being entombed.
Just in time, too. Back in your old familiar dining area you watch, heartbroken, as that wall closes silently, leaving no trace of a seam. The wonderful room is gone. Mere inches away, it might as well be on Mars. With a groan you sink down on a dining chair and lower your head to the table so as not to faint.
Later, a little calmer, you try the wall once more—but the original magic spot cannot be found again. It dawns on you that you’ve been punished for your greed. Shouldn’t one extra room have been enough? Lesson learned. But that won’t stop you, will it, from a lifelong search. Fitfully you’ll keep on probing every inch of wall . . . You will never rest.