The Puppet and the Monster

The sun rises and the puppet returns.

I've always had a problem with reality. Reality seemed too harsh, too disappointing, too dangerous.

So I avoid it.

As long as I can remember, I've been afraid. Afraid of myself. Afraid of the darker pieces of myself that I've seen. Afraid of the girl I saw in the mirror being so sinister. Wicked, fiendish, selfish, harsh.

I've seen her glare under harsh fluorescent lights, seeking something to destroy. I've seen the anger. I've seen the sides no one else has. She always comes for me though, no one else.

I'm afraid of the truth, which is different than my issue with reality. My fear of the truth is the combination of reality and myself. Plain and honest, I'm afraid of who I am at the core.

I’m afraid to look in the mirror, or try to sort out the mess in my head. I’ve sent myself and others in circles for years.

Chasing squirrels in trees while the monster walks the street, hidden by the dark of night.

Because of what I fear, I haven’t let anyone close enough to know the full truth. Even those who know more, get curated versions of me. Yes, I’ve let a few peer over walls in the city, but there’s no door in sight and they wouldn’t find a key to unlock it even if there were.

Most days, the person in front of them isn’t the one that's locked inside. The person in front of them isn’t the reality of who I might be. The person in front of them, is the person I pretend to be. It’s a mask on a puppet, hollowed out of any real substance, that’s controlled by the monster.

The masked person is who they see. It’s who I try and see when I look in the mirror. No, she’s not perfect because the monster still has to control her and the monster doesn’t know what ‘good’ is, can’t fully imagine a perfect person because it’s a monster.

The monster is a master of control, has to be. Under too much stress and the mask starts to crack. The monster rushes the masked puppet back inside the walls to hide once again.

The city is quiet while they’re both locked away inside. Silence, for the city, feels uneasy. They know what the silence means, chaos behind the walls. The masked puppet sits near the window of the tower behind the walls, with a blank look on.

The city knows, that some time will pass and out about the streets one day they’ll see the masked one again. Back with a smile on her face and the echoing laugh is back to being regularly hear.

As the cycle repeats, the city wonders what goes on behind the walls in the silent times. They try and get closed to the masked one, inviting her for coffee, trying to engage her to get to know her better. She seldom accepts, but when she does, they start to sense a guarded-ness as they try to get close. Answers ‘I’m fine’ to any question of ‘how are you’, even after they’ve seen her staring blankly out the window for what must be weeks on end.

The cycle just keeps repeating itself. Nothing seems to change.

They don’t know what to do anymore, and neither does she.

So they just keep running in circles.