Could it be the fancy trend, which was set by Queen Victoria that fascinated her? Or, was it because it was a time of new beginnings with railways being laid and new inventions popping up all the time? Amanda could only guess at what an advancement that was, to the people of that Era. Yes, she simply adored that period in history.  She knew she was truly enthralled with it.  That is why she thought this whole phenomena that she had experienced, came straight from her imagination.  She also knew she could not wait to look outside that door, again.  That door scared her to death, yet   Amanda could feel it beckoning.  She could not stand the suspense any longer; she had to see what would happen.  Slowly she mounted the stairs, and grasped the doorknob. She instantly recoiled from it, as if it were sizzling hot!  She stared at the door, in hesitation. Not understanding her fear . . . Yet wanting to conquer it, she grabbed the doorknob again and turned it slowly.  A cheerful blast of sunshine filtered through, as the door opened.  It seemed as if she jumped out of the doorway, onto the side lawn. Then, just as quickly . . . She closed the door behind her.  All was very quiet for a moment, until she heard the children talking to one another. The first voice Amanda heard was that, of a little girl speaking. She was telling Freddie to quit cheating, if he wanted her to play Hop Scotch. The little girl spoke to Freddie again, saying, “You better play fair!” Amanda kept holding her breath, at intervals. She also held her eyes shut tightly; she was scared to open them. She was afraid to view this little girl and boy. She didn't know if she’d be able to keep her composure and after what seemed a long time, Amanda opened her eyes. When she did, she saw that the little girl was looking up into her face. “Hello, my name is Sarah,” the little girl told her cheerfully. Then she asked “You are the lady that bought this house right?”   Amanda was flabbergasted, and shaking, and managed to find her voice. It was very squeaky when she answered, “Yes, yes, I bought this house.” Then, Sarah asked, “Do you live in it all alone?” “Yes,” Amanda told her, remembering how Joseph had mentioned her living alone.  Just then, Freddie ran up to where Amanda stood, and asked in a loud belligerent voice, “Are you going to play or not, Sarah?”  Sarah smiled at Amanda while looking at the boy, then answered, “Okay let's go, Freddie.” Sarah then told Freddie a stern voice, “And, if you cheat one more time, I quit!” Watching them walk away, she noticed Freddie’s pants. She saw these type pants in old photos, looking just like those of the Victorian Era.   They were referred to as knickers.  Amanda knew too, that his round cap was very popular during that era; it was called a Sporting Cap. She noticed that Sarah had long round curls, with a large silk bow holding the curls together.  Sarah’s dress had frilly petty coats with bloomers underneath, as well.  Oh my goodness, Amanda exclaimed . . . These children look like a picture from a history book! I don't know how this is happening, but it definitely is happening!  Just then, she looked down at her clothing, and to her amazement, she saw that she was wearing a plain yellow frock. It had pretty daisies embroidered around the collar. Amanda could see these, for the collar was huge.  She saw too, that she was wearing a black boot type shoe, and felt a ribbon, tying her hair back. The ribbon was knotted at the nape of her neck.  Next, she became aware that the air was clean and fresh. It also seemed so much easier for her to breathe. She could smell the horses in the fields, and the flowers.  Everything had its own distinctive scent. She noticed these scents weren’t all mixed together, as was the polluted air she was used to breathing in. At a distance, she could hear a train, and then she heard a carriage coming up the road. She felt suspended in time.  Amanda didn’t want to turn and run back into her house, yet, she was afraid to move further into this world.  A world, she had only read about in history books or novels. Now, she was here!  How on earth could that be?   Amanda whispered, “Please, dear God, will you please help me?”  Then she asked . . . Is this really happening? Or, am I completely insane? Just then, the carriage came to a stop directly in front of Amanda! Joseph was sitting inside of the carriage, with a fashionably dressed woman.  As he greeted her, his eyes smiled. Joseph spoke, saying . . . “Hello Amanda, I'd like for you to meet Rose.”  While introducing the two, Rose gave Amanda a long look, as if she was peering straight into her inner being. Her smile seemed a cynical smile then she replied, “It's a pleasure to meet you.”  Amanda, still not believing what was transpiring, found her voice long enough to mumble “nice to meet you, as well.” While standing there in awe, Amanda couldn’t help but notice that Rose was a very attractive woman. The Tan suit she was wearing, complimented her auburn hair, and light complexion.  She wore rouge, and the red lipstick she wore on her full lips suited her.  Her smile was very nice and wide. Yet, Amanda could sense that it wasn't genuine. Rose went on making conversation telling Amanda that she and Joseph had just come from town. She went on to say that they usually made the trip a couple times a month. Amanda was very glad that Rose was prattling on. She continued telling what she and Joseph had done while here or there. Amanda got the drift, as well.  Rose wanted her to know she and Joseph were more, than mere friends.  Amanda stole a glance at Joseph, who was eying her with a look of interest. His eyes sparkled as if he knew a bunch of secrets about both women, but wouldn’t tell. He flashed his beautiful smile at Amanda, and she felt something stir within.  She never ever felt anything like it before, in her life!  She felt what she thought might be the first pangs of love. Oh no, that couldn't be. This isn’t real, this isn't real!  Amanda kept repeating those words to herself, again and again.  She thought that maybe she was hallucinating, or that she was just too obsessed with things of the past.  She shook her head slowly, while thinking. . . I'm toying with the idea of falling in love with a guy from the Victorian Era!  She was becoming filled with fear. She kept telling herself that she was losing her mind, and then she’d scold herself saying that she wasn’t!  Joseph looked toward Rose and Amanda, and said, “Amanda, I am throwing a party at my home this evening.” He shifted from one foot to the other, seeming a little unsure of himself; and Rose noticed.  Joseph cleared his throat then continued, “I was waiting for an opportunity to see you again, to offer you an invitation.”  There was a pause, Amanda had been listening but she couldn’t believe her ears!  She thought to herself, what on earth is he talking about, how can I accept this invitation?  Joseph smiled and asked, “Would you give me the honor of attending?” At this point, Joseph was acting as though Rose wasn’t even there.  “I realize its short notice,” Joseph continued to explain in an apologetic voice.  Amanda's thoughts were really beginning to spin. She didn’t know how to answer, for she didn’t know what would become of this.  She felt numb and with so many thoughts going through her mind. She was confused.  Amanda was trying to think rationally, and then decided what’s the difference if I'd say yes, or no?  She was not in control of anything, in these phenomena that has occurred so far.  So, with that thought, she replied, “It would be my pleasure Joseph, what time will the party begin?”  Joseph gave a sigh of relief at Amanda’s acceptance, and answered, “Since you live across the road, why don’t I call for you at eight o’clock this evening?”  Amanda nodded her head in agreement, mainly because she could not find her voice. Rose stood by, quietly fidgeting, and feeling uncomfortable.  She could also feel herself getting angrier by the minute. She could see that Joseph was blatantly flirting with Amanda, as though she wasn’t standing there to witness it!  Yet, she continued standing there like a wall flower.  For neither love nor money, could she think of one word to say.  Rose knew that it was so unlike herself, and it worried her.  Joseph suddenly remembered she was present, and as he turned to look her way, he saw that trouble might be brewing.  Rose knew . . . From the very day she saw Joseph speaking to Amanda, her quest to make Joseph her husband would become much harder.  Joseph didn’t say much that day, when she playfully asked him about Amanda.  Rose could sense then, that he might be attracted to her.  Joseph replied to her questioning “Rose, I hardly know the woman."     Rose knew that was true, she also knew if Joseph had his way. . .   He would get to know the woman, very well!   Amanda abruptly excused herself, saying she had to get back to her house.  Joseph called after her, “I will be calling on you promptly at eight O'clock, Amanda.”  She turned to look at him again, and simply nodded her head.  Breaking into a run, Amanda headed for home as fast as she could.  Joseph guided his carriage away, and steered the horse toward his driveway.  When he stopped his carriage, Rose haughtily stepped from her carriage, not waiting for Joseph to help her down. He knew that she was angry with him. When Rose behaved in that manner, Joseph seemed to enjoy getting belligerent with her. He knew he'd get a spark out of her, and that tickled him.  Joseph looked directly at Rose, and said, “Amanda seems a bit shy and humble, Rose,” smiling, Joseph finished with . . . “You might take a few lessons from her.” With that said she gave a snort of disapproval, turned and stepped up into her carriage. She yanked hard on the reins, as her carriage moved quickly up the road. Joseph stood looking after the carriage, and began laughing.  He continued laughing loudly, all the way to his front door.  Once he stopped laughing, he began to think of what had just happened between them.  He wasn't sure what his feelings might be, concerning Rose.  He couldn’t help but wonder why he enjoyed getting her riled up. He thought that her actions showed that she really did have feelings for him.  One sure thing, he knew she was out to snag him.  Joseph smiled, with his thoughts going back to Amanda. He knew Amanda was certainly someone that Rose didn't want to have to contend with.  Hoping to get some well needed rest after spending his afternoon with Rose, he prepared to take a nap.   He was happy that he happened onto Amanda, and happier yet, that she accepted his invitation. Yes, he would certainly look forward to this evening.  Back inside the confinement of her basement, Amanda tried again to regain her composure. She thought . . . I don’t know what is real and what is not real anymore.  She remembered that it was eleven-fifteen, when she last looked at her wristwatch, before going outside that door. Checking the time again, Amanda was startled that twenty minutes had passed.  It seemed only a few minutes that she was gone.  She asked. "So, what am I to do, should I tell someone, would they believe me?  ”They would not, she muttered! They would lock me up inside some institution for years, maybe for the rest of my natural life!  Why, she asked, why did I go outside that door again?

Tony Braxton - I Can't Live If Living Is Without You.mp3