The Reality Institute

The story of Madeline

Madeline wore a smile on her… papery face.
She stood calmly, legs firmly planted in place.
“Where do the people go when they’re not around?
Do they go on adventures or just out of town?”
She thought about this, among other things,
While at the dentist, for instance,
Replacing her fillings.
There was no simple answer to her, so it seemed.
So at night, she created something much more than dreams.

Inside of her head, she was inside of a room,
Talking to strangers about their impending doom.
“It will come quickly to some,” and some were elated,
“But slowly to others,” but soon were deflated.
“Ms. Madeline, I wonder, is there anything we can do?”
“Not as of yet, good sir, but keep looking for clues.
We’ll work something out, put our hard heads together.
The closer we are, the stronger, the better.”
They huddled around the willful little girl,
For they had nothing else. She was their world.

A door appeared in the room in her head
With a roman numeral I and a knob made of lead.
“Ms. Madeline! Ms. Madeline! We’ve found a way out!
I’ll be the first to see what this door’s all about!”
The graying woman, with a face like a bear’s,
Broke free from the pack and tumbled into the snare.
The door slammed shut, the group stopped and stared.
“How will she do?” “How will she fair?”
There was no reply, only silence and dread.
There was never a turn of the knob made of lead.
And she fell fast asleep and closed the room of her mind,
Dreaming of things no human can find.

At market she saw the woman with a bear’s face
“I’ve been looking for you, madam, all over the place!
Tell me, where do you go when you’re not around?”
“Well, I have a quaint little villa just outside of town.”
Madeline couldn’t prove that the woman was lying,
“Her story checks out, but what about mine?”

Again, Madeline went back into her room
And consulted her friends about their impending doom.
French doors as wide as the eye can see,
Slowly appeared, just came into be.
Glistening and etched into the glass
Was a roman numeral II suggesting, “(Sigh) at last!”
A man of about forty and lighter than air
Paced to the door with caution and care.
He placed his fingers along the smooth door
But he had gotten that far and could budge no more.
“Help me! God, help me! I seem to be stuck!
Is it just me or are we shit out of luck?!”
Cried the man, his hand covered in glue,
And such was the ploy of door number two.

He appeared at her door, the very next day
But seemed quieter, kinder, and slightly insane.
“Alms for the poor, ma’am, just for some food.
I don’t mean to be bothersome, or should I say, I don’t mean to be rude.”
“That’s quite alright. I’ll give my mother a call,
But can I ask you a question, if it’s no bother and all?
Where do you go when you’re not around?”
“I sleep at a shelter just outside of town.”
And so he existed outside of her brain,
But there was no way to be sure she wasn’t, also, slightly insane.

Door number three opened up into door number four
Any who entered ceased to be any more.
Sealed from the outside, there was door number five
And door number six ate people alive.
Door number eight replaced door number seven
And, thus replacing, any exit to heaven.
Night in, night out, her friends died or survived.
And day in, day out, to Madeline they lied.
They’d never seen the inside of her room,
But she was sure of it, and deep down, they knew it too.

Finally, Madeline, gave up in the room in her head.
She told her companions, “I wish I was dead.”
“Madeline, my girl,” said one dear old man,
“It’ll come slowly or quickly, but death is the plan.”
She grabbed him by his wool old man sweater,
Clasping him tightly in her little girl fetters.
“Is there no escape from this room in my mind?
Have you all given up, even the sweet and the kind?
What will we do in here with no board games to play?
After so many years, we’ll have nothing to say.
Maybe more people will come and people will go,
But, God, it just seems so painfully slow.”
In this fit of frustration, this willful girl shed a tear.
The old man touched her lightly, “There there, my dear.”
Again the room closed and she fell fast asleep,
Only the kind lots of crying can keep.

She awoke bright and early to attend Sunday mass
Preparing for boredom, so enduring and crass.
An old man was restless and played with his shoes,
He bent down and whispered, “How do you do?”
On instinct, she started to stumble to ask,
But with defeat, withdrew and let the opportunity pass.
The old man, seemed to be determined with age,
Asked the same question, but slightly rephrased.
Instead of responding with a “Fine” or a “Good”,
Madeline asked what she should and what she always would,
“Where do you go when you’re not around?
Do you go on adventures or just out of town?”
The old man answered with a wink as he said,
“We both know. We all flock to the room in your head.”

One Response to “The story of Madeline”

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