But that was before she saw the people in the mirror and before she met the gorgeous young man next door....
From THE PEOPLE IN THE MIRROR:
“Watch your footing.” Mitch turned on a flashlight and pointed it at the ground. I followed him when, suddenly, he disappeared into the ground. I backed away.
“Come on,” he urged.
“Where are you?”
“There’s steps.” He pointed the flashlight up steps where he’d disappeared. “Do you see them?”
“Just barely. Why are there steps into the earth?” I made a great leap of trust as I cautiously took the first step down. It seemed fairly solid. I took the next three steps, then turned around and looked up. A few stars peeked through the buttermilk clouds that nearly covered the night sky. I took another step down, and the sky disappeared behind the ceiling of earth.
“Where is this?” I looked around – what I could make out in the glow of Mitch's flashlight were walls, a sidewalk, an ancient billboard.
“It’s a part of Seattle’s underground city. It’s cut off from the section that’s on the tour.”
“How did you find out about it?”
“After I went on the underground city tour with my dad years ago, I never could stop thinking about it. I knew there had to be more. A librarian dug out an old city map for me, and I figured out where it was likely there'd be more of the underground city. I kept poking around until I found a gigantic rabbit hole and I took it from there.” He studied me for a moment. “Are you going to come the rest of the way down, or stay perched up there?”
“I’m coming down.” I continued on down the steps and onto the wooden planks of the underground sidewalk. “It’s so amazing!” I felt again a bit nervous about his brilliance and maturity. How could I possibly be interesting and intelligent enough for him?
Mitch trained the flashlight on the billboard. “Millie’s Millinery,” it said over a faint sepia drawing of a Victorian woman wearing a huge, billowing hat. Curiously, she appeared to be looking right up the stairs at the night stars.
“She’s beautiful,” I whispered.
“Isn’t she?” We stood reverently contemplating Miss Millie from a bygone era for a few moments, then Mitch took my hand and we silently headed down the sidewalk. We came to a house and climbed the steps to the porch, then he led me through the front door into the house.
“All that’s left of the house is this foyer and the living room, but isn’t the woodwork fabulous?”
I peered around at the scrollwork of the dark wooden Victorian doorways, archways and window moldings, the scent of wood and earth mingling into a musty, lonely aroma. “Yes. Beautiful.”
“Should we sit on the porch?”
“Okay.” The heavy presence of that other time in this undisturbed place stole into me. I felt like I wasn't exactly myself. A bit dazed and overwhelmed, I followed Mitch back onto the porch and sat on the steps.
“If you stay awhile with the flashlight turned off, your eyes adjust and you can make things out surprisingly clearly. There’s some phosphorescence in the walls that adds a hazy light. You begin to feel what it was like to have lived here. The city takes on a kind of life, like in a dream....”