Alice in D304, By Tammy San
Alice in D304
By Tammy San
I braced myself as my body tumbled down the dark tunnel. Flashes of red, green, and yellow quickly blended into the walls I failed to cling onto.
I quickly got up from the ground, extremely embarrassed, hoping no one had seen me. I brushed myself and blindly walked into something hard. I gasped, taking a step back from the grand marigolds and cotton candy pink skies. There were signs posted, but I was unable to fully understand them. They were inscribed in the romantic language used frequently in Wonderland. I brushed my hands on the signs, tracing the letters until a gust of wind blew past me, assaulting the perfectly planted flowers. Bright speckled petals marvelously swept up into the air before descending downwards, forming a path. It led me to an empty room with a table set up with tea cups and pastries. I took a seat at the furthest end of the dining table, marveling in the scent of fresh pancakes and muffins. A wave of chatter and laughter came crashing in the room. Startled, I got out of my seat and stepped backwards while watching the guests flood in the room.
First was a curvaceous deep-toned feline whom upon entering, let out a hearty laugh. Right behind her came a girl decked out in red and black with a dress that swept across the floor. The latter dismissively waved off a joke the former had cracked before entering. Then there were two, a girl and a boy with a dramatic height difference, racing in. The quarrel between the two was incomprehensible. The shorter one of the pair articulated her comebacks, quickly firing them right after the other’s fluent remarks. The next guest that entered was a charming lady with disheveled hair dressed in vintage clothing. She took a seat in between the bickering duo, immune to their immense tones. Someone then came in slurring their greetings. A properly dressed lady came in giving out hugs and compliments. I remained in the back and kept to myself waiting for someone to talk to me. They didn't completely ignore me, they just didn't know what to say to me. The group gave me frequent glances to make sure I hadn’t disappeared and returned to their conversation with each other.
A series of knocks on the door announced the arrival of our last guest. Everyone quieted down. A woman with long two café au lait blonde hair, green eyes, and a pleasant smile entered the room. Before she introduced herself, she nodded towards me, gesturing that I take a seat. That was Alice. The rest of the room followed suit. The bold feline was Cheshire Cat. Next to her was the Queen of Hearts and the Caterpillar who was enthusiastic about seeing everyone again. The Mad Hatter introduced herself next, ruffling her hair as she spoke bashfully. Then it was the duo’s turn. Their names were were Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. Tweedle Dum had mocked Tweedle Dee, which resulted in another discord. I sat in my seat twiddling my thumbs and checking my watch as they embarked on another argument about how the marigolds had some correlation with their heights. After a boring minute, Alice shushed them. Then, she directed the group’s attention towards me. She gave me a gentle smile nodding for me to introduce myself.
“I am White Rabbit.” Every other guest introduced themselves and then shared some of their interesting traits, so I did the same. “This is my first time in Wonderland. I am extremely nervous, but I try not to appear so. So now you know--I’m nervous.”
“Well, nice to meet you, White Rabbit. I hope you enjoy your time here in Wonderland,” Alice spoke eloquently. The rest of the guests shared the same thought, while chuckling. They started passing out servings of food and for the first time, I joined in their bizarre conversation.
On some mornings, we shared stories of past adventures and future goals, and on others, Alice taught us more about the language of Wonderland. She often urged us to speak in Wonderland’s tongue in order to improve, and it worked. By the end of that year, I was capable of comprehending Tweedle Dee’s and Tweedle Dum’s feuds. Every day was like a new story to be told or a new word to be learned. Caterpillar was the most mature of all, so she took lead in finding unfamiliar words to test while Mad Hatter and Cheshire Cat would pass out plentiful dishes. Wonderland became my safe place. I was pushed to greater things and swiftly learned that Wonderland was a place of freedom but in a whole different language. Wonderland was everything but forever.
As quickly as we got to know each other, we started to separate just as fast. Caterpillar was the first to leave. She deservingly got accepted into a great college somewhere far away. Mad Hatter left with her free-spirit still intact. Cheshire Cat had other subjects to learn, the Queen of Hearts was on her quest for true love, and Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum both found their other halves. Soon they’ll be gone as well. Alice, too, was ready to venture off to somewhere new.
With the years I’ve spent in Wonderland, I grew. I flourished with the continuous support from Cheshire Cat and the Queen of Hearts. I wondered with the mind-opening conversations of the Mad Hatter. I aimed high with the expectations and praise from Caterpillar. I laughed at the unfathomable bickering between Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb. And when I was disheartened and falling apart, I cried on the shoulder of Alice. But I’m not going to cry on this occasion because, now, it’s my turn to sprout somewhere unknown.