As I climbed through the hedge it was clear this was not where I had just come from, this was a strange, peculiar place where everything would be different. Most likely it would be better. There was a tangible improvement, the air was cleaner, clearer and every colour more bright and vibrant than where I’d come from.
I wondered from the hedge down a cobbled lane with flower beds. The establishments were all familiar shapes but the colour was soft pastels replacing traditional rust reds and evergreens. As I peered through large clean windows I realised these were sweet shops, flower boutiques and an abundance of tea rooms, coffee shops and smoothie bars. Long gone are the pubs and clubs which had littered these familiar streets with over-saturated patrons. There were no shelters or empty glasses strewn along this High Street, all evidence had been erased. Very peculiar.
People passed by all smiles and ‘hello’s rippling across this quaint lane. Eyebrows rose with recognition and friendly waves exchanged. Surely it was not possible all these people knew one another. Or were on such peaceful terms! Not one was left without a cheery acknowledgement. Everyone included, everyone accepted. Very peculiar.
I moved from my wanderings into a tea room. I ordered a lunch of sandwiches and fruit salad, and took my seat at the best table in the room, which incidentally was not the only 'best’ table. Each table had a certain attraction, leaving none to be undesired. My meal was delicious and the loneliness of an unshared meal was nowhere to be found. Perhaps it was not only this dimension which was different but myself too. Perhaps I was changing too. Very peculiar.
I rose and crossed the room to settle my debt only to find a friendly stranger had already done so on my behalf. Very peculiar.
I ventured out into the mid afternoon sunlight. The gentle breeze seemed to guide me towards the green which lay a few streets to my left. The lanes became more crowded as I approached the market square. Even with the increase of people the greetings remained well exercised, even I had been greeted and returned pleasantries with anyone who addressed me. Very contagious.
I rounded the final corner towards the green to find my view blocked by a familiar face. Yours. Surprisingly you strode confidently, straight to me. I held my breath as you opened the conversation with a long-lost smile.
As you moved closer, you stepped to the side to avoid starring into the sun, you continued to beam your own warming grin. The green now in full view. I realised the sky was grass green and the green a clear blue.
None of it was real. I should have known that the moment you smiled.