”Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
I won’t start off by saying that I have read this a hundred times and still it feels magical every time I visit it again. The kind of magic that happens when you look at a tree and suddenly realize that it is a living, BREATHING thing, or when you close your eyes and see all kinds of faces, visit numerous places and yet get a shock when you open them and you wonder ‘Which one of the two is real?’ I won’t say that it was Alice who introduced me to this kind of magic. Oh! No. It was Peter Pan and his shadow that got away! It was Wendy and her siblings. It was Neverland that first taught me how to escape this boring kingdom that we have made ourselves the kings and queens of! I was four and it had pictures. Oh, how ‘wonder-ful’ those were! Oh, the places I went! And it was only AFTER having discovered the power of the world in our heads that I was introduced to Wonderland. And it did not feel like coming back home. No. It felt like re-discovering myself. It felt strange. How very weird it felt when I first read the book! How very, very real! I felt like the person who’s reading this right now is my real self and I marveled at the revelation. How was I ever living without this? When did I abandon myself and became someone entirely different, someone FAR, FAR from my own self? I did not know Alice but she knew me. And she knew very well. She was my thoughts. She was my feelings. And Wonderland was……..was…….my place of birth. The place which had been calling to me ever since I first read Peter Pan; a place which never abandoned me but was waiting for the right time to call me back, call me home.
Although the title says ‘Re-reading’, you can never really re-read Alice and her adventures. You not ‘re-discover’ them because every time will be the first time. Every time your heart with swell up with nostalgia and you will end up losing yourself a little bit and gaining your-self a little bit more. Flicking through the pages of my Vintage Edition of the book, I always wonder if everyone at Wonderland was just waiting for me to come back and spend my time with them again. I wonder if Alice was just biding her time, judging me for leaving the last time even though she herself did the same. I wonder if every little butterfly I see is Absolem – signalling me to leave everything off and slide down the rabbit hole?
To be honest, I still feel guilty when I have to close the book. It feels like everyone is taring at me with tearful eyes, begging me to not lose myself in the ‘mad caucus race’ of this superficial world and so sometimes I leave it open. I leave the door open in case the Mad Hatter wants to taste how I make my tea. In case he wants to check if I still remember to lose my mind every now and then.
I have read it yet again but now, like Alice, I don’t shout ”You’re nothing but a pack of cards.” at my beautiful Wonderland family. I have learnt not to believe everything I see with my eyes open and to trust everything that happens in my world when that window is closed.