“Come. Let me show you around our new house.” Suzi and I had once known one another casually but had never turned our relationship into a friendship; our personalities hadn’t exactly clicked. She had always struck me as a superficial and fake person with no real interest in others. She had also seemed like a woman whose heart wouldn’t miss a beat over hurting someone. I’m having these thoughts as Suzi and I are sitting on her king size bed, chatting, oddly, about old times, as if we’d been the best of friends. We haven’t seen each another in years, and Suzi seems to think I have more than an active interest in what’s happened with her life since we’d last spoken. My head is getting heavy with her empty chatter, and I’m feeling troubled and claustrophobic. Although I haven’t seen the rest of the interior yet, and my dream didn’t begin with my arriving at Suzi’s house and seeing it from outside, I already know the house is enormous. As I follow Suzi out of her bedroom of satin, silk, and lace, I begin to feel more and more uneasy. Why am I here? Why are we sitting in her bedroom and not in the living room? What’s the purpose of this show-and-tell? “We had to make a lot of changes to open it up, you know,” Suzi says, and I wonder who the other person in the “we” is. Did she get married to a loaded moneybags, after all? I ask myself, and I turn my attention away from her face to look at a room she’s supposed to be showing me. But directly in front of me is a closed door. And behind me is another closed door. The long hallway, so long I can’t see the end of it, has closed doors on either side. “Isn’t it beautiful?” Suzi says, and it's obvious she isn't expecting an answer. “I just can’t believe how open everything is, now. You should’ve seen it before we tore down all the walls and doors. It was a disaster.” Before you tore down all the walls and doors? I must be losing it. “Come on. Let me show you the rest.” I follow. As we’re going down the hall, I realize Suzi is oblivious to the doors, and even to the hall itself. She’s walking down the hall as if she’s going from one open room to another. Maybe I’m imagining things? But I know I’m not. Suzi stops in front of a door. “I like that all the guest rooms are in separate wings,” she says. “That way our guests can have some privacy,” she adds with a wink. She pauses, her hand clutching the doorknob. “You know, Nevine, you really should think about coming down and spending a week or two with us.” But her voice is distant and insincere. And I wonder why she didn’t mention my husband in the invitation. Suzi opens the door and we walk into a room filled with other doors. I go to a door and walk out into another room with more doors. “Can we see the next room, please?” I say, eager for the tour to be over. But Suzi has her back to me, and she doesn’t seem to have heard me. “Suzi?” “Oh, yes, of course,” she says. “It’s right over this way.” But the next room is across the hall. Weren’t we just in this room? And I start to correct Suzi, to remind her that we’ve already been in this room, but she opens the door and it’s another empty room with more doors. I’m dizzy, both physically and mentally. What a strange existence this woman leads, I say to myself. To be surrounded by a horrific maze of empty rooms and not to even realize it! Her home must mirror the vicious meaninglessness of her life. “Are we almost done with the house tour?” I ask Suzi, but I turn around to find that she's no longer there. I feel a cold chill as goose bumps break out on my arms and legs. “I have to get out of here,” I tell myself out loud, hoping my voice will provide the security I need to keep my sanity intact. But a deep fear seizes me as I realize that I no longer remember which of the doors is my key to freedom. And I know, now, that I will either have to open every door, or else meet an unknown doom in this purgatory. Instinctively, I look down at my ring finger and see that my solitaire setting has disappeared, and that only my diamond is there, suspended just above my finger, as if it’s floating by the power of a gravity that’s holding it up rather than pulling it down. Suzi has reappeared in front of me and is smiling wickedly. I still have time, I tell myself. But I feel helpless. The adrenaline rush has left me weak, and I close my eyes, needing a moment to recover. When I open my eyes again, I’m standing outside, looking at an old, run-down building rather than a new house, feeling like I’ve been banished, and asking myself dozens of questions in fewer seconds. The building reeks of mold, and is surrounded by pipes that wrap around it like barbed wire, obstructing the ability of anyone inside to open a window or door. A child, who appears to have come from inside the building, walks toward me, and smiles darkly. She comes closer and takes my left hand, looks at my ring finger, and says, “Suzi heard everything you were thinking about her. She says you can go to hell.”
The dream ends.