Alice falls down the rabbit hole. Milo drives through the tollbooth. Dorothy is swept up in the tornado. Neo takes the red pill. Don’t tell us about another world you’ve imagined, heard about, or created. Rather, tell us about its portal. Sure, some people think of the University of Chicago as a portal to their future, but please choose another portal to write about.

After seven straight hours of headache-inducing, nail-biting delay, Flight 2237’s touchdown into Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport was met with an exhausted yet raucous cheer from every passenger on board. As we disembarked, my mother moved to join the throng of irritated travelers swarming the panicked employee manning the information desk, instructing me to watch my brother and sister as she attempted to rebook our connecting flight. The time was three-fifteen in the morning, and apart from the current bedlam at the gate, the airport was practically deserted. Flickering fluorescent lights cast a dim, alien-like glow over the scuffed tile floor of the terminal and turned the barred entrances of Wendy’s and Starbucks into something more closely resembling jail cells. The only signs of life were the few blanket-wrapped lumps curled up near phone outlets, occasionally shifting uncomfortably or adjusting the backpacks shoved under their heads in impromptu pillows. I remember the strangest sort of feeling settling over me, and it was only once harried businessmen and vacation-bound families braving the inexpensive six-o’clock flights began to fill the halls with their chatter that this fog finally swept away. Since...

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