he concert was about to begin. The crowd, dressed in black tie, stood chatting animatedly in an adjacent hall where the pre-concert mingle was held. I stepped away from the hall where family and friends were standing to roam the corridors of the building, once an old fortress now turned into a theater and concert hall. There was still time before the concert began – my niece would be on stage that evening – and I thought to return to the area of the elevator, where in order to arrive at the mingle hall, we were all instructed to turn right. I now wanted to see where left led.
It was not a long walk from where most of the crowd was, but I noted that the sounds of the crowd went distinctly quieter as I continued on my steps towards the elevator. Upon reaching the area, I turned left, and was led into the left wing of the building. I went down a smaller corridor with walls just as sturdy and slate grey as the right wing, but here, a hint of green had come over them. I stretched out my hand and ran my fingertips along the stonewalls as I walked just to see if it was moss or an algae that grew on the insides of this fortress.
At about halfway down the left wing corridor, my attention was drawn to the chimes of female voices coming from a room straight ahead, again to the left. It was in that direction that I headed. I did not bother so much as to stop and ask if I could enter, but just rather walked in as if I had already known of the existence of the room and its function. The room was light, smelled of perfume and was contrastingly romantic in a rich draping of all things Rococo compared to the grey from which I just stepped in. The women, youthful and fully made-up, were in various states of dress, some wearing the most delicately coutured silk and lace for costume. It was not so much the decadence of the room as that nobody thought I was a stranger to that room at all that took me slightly aback.
Just as I thought I had made some eye contact with one in the room, because I had to ask who and what they were there for, the chemistry of contact was broken when the clock struck the hour letting out a rhythmic chime counting down from 3 to 1 before the bell toll. Ten bell tolls. The concert.
Turning on my heels, I stepped out of that room into the green grey corridors. I walked at good speed in order to make it back to the elevator landing, but soon found myself taking a left. A left? No matter. I walked on, because there was no other direction to go.
After a couple more hurried steps, I was relieved to have found myself in sight of the elevator. Except, the tiles to the fortress grounds were different. I stopped short, and looked up, surveying the area. Green grey stonewalls all around. The right wing of the fortress that held the mingle hall had no green on the walls. In that moment, I realized that the left I had taken was indeed a mistake. I decided to turn around to retrace my steps and find myself to the right wing of the building again. But as soon as I had turned to begin walking, I witnessed the walls of the fortress warp. The corridor lengthened and narrowed. At the end of that corridor, stood a recognizable elevator door, facing.
I had my hair all pinned in a proper chignon that evening but I ran my fingers through my hair nonetheless. I took in a deep breath as familiarity settled. I was no stranger to this heritage fortress. In fact, I knew it and its shape shifting walls from long ago. I surveyed my position of standing, and decided to go left. Again. In this circumstance of an involuted labyrinth, I might or I might not, miss that concert with my niece on stage this evening. But one thing for certain, finding my way back to that concert hall would take time.