Dirty. Not uncommon for a temple, but this looks more like a department store. Counting the levels ... 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 .... this place must be enormous. It appears to be late and most of the stores seem to be closed. Here and there a couple of Buddhist monks are pacing towards the stairs. I should hurry, I can't be late, it will start soon.
As I take the first step our eyes meet. I haven't seen her in quite a while. "You look tired..." she throws me a smile and walks towards me. I fake a smile as well and answer: "I'm always tired, don't you know that? I'd never admit it out there, but we're in my head now, so I guess i'm safe."
We walk upstairs. I catch a glimpse of the saleboards: "Enlightenment! Now 50% OFF!" ... and yet nobody's buying... I start to feel a little uneasy and I check my bags for my cell-phone and money. I take out my wallet and - what is she doing?
"Hey give that back!" I reach out for her, but she's just a little bit too fast for me. She pulls out some receipts and bills, puts them back and finally gets hold of my ID.
"Awwww.... such a cute picture... this is who you are right? I mean out there."
I'm more annoyed than fascinated, even though I haven't been lucid in weeks. She's still wearing the same dress, the same shoes, the same nailpolish, the same lipstick.
"Yes, this is who I am ... can I have it back?"
She throws it back to me and I take a look at the picture myself. There's nothing special about it, or anything cute for that matter. She frowns...
"If this is who you are out there, then why do you look different in here? I mean ...in here you are a complete nerd, you are a writer, you are cute, you are ugly, you are smart, you are stupid, you are weird, you are normal, you are lazy, with a high work ethic, you are boring, you are interesting, you are cool, your are lukewarm, you are mad, totally crazy, you are insane, you are down to earth and up there, so high, in your cage you're free, you've got balls, you're an idiot, you're smart, you're a little boy inside and you love white chocolate. When they see you out there, is this what they see?"
I look at her:
"I don't know, but... why don't you come with me, to see for yourself? You'd like it, the world's a little bit strange but I keep my life together. I started to earn some extra money, I write strange blog posts, that surprisingly many people read and I get to do what I love every day. I guess I could feed us both, I'll take good care of you. I even have a second mattress you could sleep on. Come on! What do you say?"
I don't remember anybody ever looking at me like that. Just writing about it sends shivers down my spine. The weird thing is, that I can't even remember what her eyes looked like. It was just an impression, a thought, an illusion I patched together in my head. None of it for real.