Short Story by Mark Russell Gelade

The Hidden World

I believe there’s a hidden world that—on this particular April morning, walking in the park, hearing the surf crash against the rocks, with the wind blowing through the Cyprus trees and the sky intentionally blue and flawless—reveals itself to be something highly selective and not at all obvious to the casual observer.

Sometimes this sensation, alive with desire, will be heightened by the introduction of a beautiful young girl with cherry-red toenails and a pair of white-rimmed sunglasses, that, together with the ability of shrubs to suddenly burst into clusters of purple petals, signaling spring, produces something like joy, which is also a key with which to enter this hidden world.

Then my sweet Antoinette will send a text message, asking when we can meet. And I will have to tell her that my car has broken down again and there is nothing I can do now to change that.

Then her lips will pout and she will not be happy to hear this. She’ll stop sending messages and will later on accuse me of taking her for granted, which is exactly how the sky and trees are not being treated, or so she’ll say.

And this will be the beginning of a dark exchange that will move in over us like a gray cloud; until once again, hours later, the hidden world will call out from a golden poppy in a language that only a lover could fathom.

And so a balance will finally be achieved. I will tell Antoinette that if she can wait until morning, I will arrive at her door with warm rolls, fresh coffee, and a smile she can store in her heart for as long as she needs.

And then she will say that this is her lucky day, her happy day; and she, too, will see an opening to the hidden world—one that was planted in her heart, a long time ago.


Mark Russell Gelade may be reached at