They call me Alice, but I feel more like the Mad Hatter.
I see ghosts in the draperies that billow in the wind, there just long enough to stay in my mind for the rest of the day. I listen to the walls as they whisper secrets no one else can hear. I don’t understand most of them, but I feel their weight settle inside me. I sense haunted hearts among the people around me, though I can never tell who they belong to.
All I know is I am full of emotions that aren’t mine.
The winding staircase is full of panic. The halls echo with emptiness even when they are filled. The walls in my room weep with forgotten tears. The dining room will sometimes shiver in fear.
I can’t eat when it does that.
Sometimes, the palace is so full of panic and tears and fear that it chases me up and up and up to the roof. The roof is the only place that stays quiet.
Like it’s used to bearing the turmoil beneath.
Like it’s accepted what happens below and has learned to watch the sky instead.
On clear nights, the stars have started to become familiar. I have a few old friends up there who I like to stare at until my tears blur everything together. The black sky of a cloudy night feels like a blanket tucked around my shoulders. I let the darkness hold me until I’m able to move again.
In the daylight, the deep blue of a cloudless sky fills me inside until the cracks start to seal themselves. It reminds me to breathe until I don’t have to think to do it. The grey clouds of an overcast day tell me I’m not alone. I am comforted with the thought that even the sky can get clouded with milling emotions.
On stormy days, the rain wipes away my tears with its own. I let it soak me until the feelings that aren’t mine are washed off.
This place is full of things long forgotten, of stories and lives that have slipped away, and it cannot bear their stories without them being told. I can hear them, so I listen. But when it becomes too much I run to the roof and stay until I remember myself again.
It is how I have learned to bear it.