When I was little, I lived in a lot of different fantasy worlds. The best one could be accessed through a portal in a tree in my friend’s backyard. I never actually went there, but I dreamed of it often. It was a castle with hundreds of rooms, all catered to my desires. Closets full of the most beautiful dresses. Shaded pools lined with waterfalls. Banquet halls full of all kinds of sweets. Hand maidens that followed me around, and obeyed my every command. A boy, strange and handsome, who would give me my first kiss.
I’m pretty sure my friend with the tree had autism, but I would beg my parents to go to his house anyway. There, we would sit on his tire swing, and construct elaborate plans to get to the top of the tree, where we were sure that we could find the doorway to our enchanted kingdom.
Looking back, it’s pretty clear that my favorite fantasy was actually just an elaboration of the song, “There Is a Castle In A Cloud,” from Les Misérable. Nevertheless, it was so real to me that to this day, I can still taste what it smells like. I can still feel myself opening the carved wooden entrance.