You have a great and comfortable life. A lovely girlfriend who is kind, sweet and willing to put up with all your bullshit. A house in the middle of a forest and a job that inspires you. Great! Until one day you walk into the local bar, like you did many nights before. There you find the same crowd as usual. Your friends, sharing envelopes of coke and joints. The girls dancing and drinking their wine and the local alcoholics hanging at the bar. Everything is as it always was.
All of the sudden you see in the worn out faces of those who are passionlessly drinking their beers, your own face. Twenty years older yes, but unmistakably yours! You start to freak out. You try to run away from it, but your face appears everywhere. Laughing too loud, with blood shed eyes, dozing off, reeking of beer… You shake your head as you spot a white rabbit on their shoulders. You shrug and try to walk away. But he is there, following you. You drop down on the bed, trying to pass it all off as a hallucination but when you wake up he is still there, staring at you.
And the days, weeks and months to come you find him everywhere. While you get ready for work. While you are making love to your girlfriend, while you are sleeping away one of your many hangovers. You are tired, sick of running from him when you find him standing over a note. On it is nothing but the word Macedonia and the name of a Youth Centre. He is staring at you with his black, piercing eyes. You know you have to go. He won’t leave you alone until you do.
In the plane you think back of all you will be leaving behind. All just to fulfill the wish of that crazy creature with its piercing eyes and persistent stalking. But as the engines start to roar you know there is no way back. You are on your way to wonderland. Fasten your seat-belts!
Wonderland is a place where solid grounds can quickly change into quicksand the moment you lean your steps to heavily on them. Where the white rabbit is always there on the background, telling you to keep on running, that what you have now can vaporize at any moment. That the queen of hearts is always just around the corner….It is a place where reality is fluid, where everything can change with the blink of an eye.
Blink: I’m living with a girlfriend in Serbia. Another blink, I am taking care of homeless people in Ireland. More blinks, I’m in Lithuania, starting my life there with yet another girl, full of hopes and dreams. Eyes shut. Eyes shut, eyes shut, eyes open again! I’m in Budapest on my own, for no reason but the fact that I needed to go somewhere. Eyes closed again, just a second. Eyes open. A lot of nice friends around me. A rich social life and all kinds of creative and expressive workshops that fulfill my need to express myself. A short blink. I’m teaching Dutch to Hungarians and I’m loving it. Blink, I’m facilitating workshops in philosophy. Blink, I’m living in a great place in the city centre. Blink, blink, blink!
I look down. The white rabbit is on my lap, peacefully. I can sense that he also got tired of running. He stretches himself and eats from my hand. He even lets himself be stroked by my friends and family. The ones who were always around somehow during my journey through wonderland. I ask him softly why he had stopped running. Why he stopped stalking me and pushing me to run. He looks up at me.
“Because you finally dug your own rabbit hole. You have created your own wonderland. There is no need for me to guide you through it anymore, you know your own way around it. I can finally just sit back and enjoy the view.”
By Ramon Martensen
About the author:
Ramon Martensen was born in 1983 in the Netherlands, but he currently resides in Budapest, Hungary. His English short stories and poetry got published in several literary magazines, such as Better Than Starbucks, The Ozorian Prophet, and Karton.
He regularly performs as an improvised Fairyteller by creating magical stories on the spot based on the objects that audience members provide him. He has a feature on the website of the Budapest based artists community called Painters Palace, for which he writes short stories inspired by paintings and other artwork. He also co-hosts a creative writing workshop for them.
His work explores themes like innocence, vulnerability, and connection.