Sitting with my back leaned against the bedpost, my parents beside me snoring and heavy in sleep, I wiped my tears away as I watch Edmund, Lucy, Susan and Peter go through the portal into reality one last time. It was then that I realized, after high school and the joys of existential crisis, that the real world was not at all like Narnia or Hogwarts or Middle Earth. I stared into the TV screen and wondered if my ten-year old self would like the life she was living now.
I wasn’t even a huge fan of the Chronicles of Narnia. I read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe in third grade and stopped because Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys corrupted me. The few memories that I have of the Narnia universe were of me watching those three movies on our box-set television. However, rewatching Prince Caspian again after all those years, I tasted nothing but nostalgia.
Perhaps it all dawned on me when I heard Regina Spektor’s song, The Call, being played in the background as the four siblings left Narnia. Music had always been my little memorabilia, and the words “I’ll come back when you call me” brought me to my senses. I was no longer a child. A lot of things happened when I decided to grow older. A lot of decisions were made, and a lot of tears were shed. I could still keep watching The Chronicles of Narnia over and over again, but I wasn’t the same toothless kid with those funky Harry Potter glasses.
I had always wanted to know how Turkish Delights tasted. The first movie made it seem like Edmund was having a delicious time munching on them. I still had a fair amount of imagination back then, and thought those sweets tasted like soft, chewy and sweet salmon. The only problem I had encountered back then was how I could get Turkish Delights when I lived in a rather small Southeast Asian country with 7,107 islands. For me, the calm before the storm was that peacefulness in the household before my parents found out I did something wrong. Now, I have trouble sleeping at night because my brain likes to overthink and insidiously drag me into a highly anxious state beneath the blankets.
I also liked to stare at our closet wardrobe. It was a large, wooden closet and I was pretty sure that if I watched it long enough, it would become a portal to some fantasy universe. I don’t blame Narnia; I blame my naïve and hopeful youth. I used to climb inside the wardrobe and tightly close the doors. Ignoring the spiderwebs around the corners and that ominous feeling of someone beside me, I prayed for an escape from reality when I didn’t have any reason other than I was feeling bored. Now, I have plenty of reasons, but so little time and increasing maturity that I wouldn’t dare do something so childish. I still stare at my closet, and wonder what would happen if I dared.
Reminiscing to the old days isn’t really a fresh idea, but The Chronicles of Narnia, although taking up only a little portion of my lifetime, brought me to a world where everything finally genuinely felt okay. At least while it lasted.