Touch of the Goddess
The Grey Hare winked at me, then poured a cup of the Darjeeling Drama that she had just steeped.
"Madness," she posited, "can be a Room or a Realm. It is up to you to choose which will give you the greatest benefit. A Room of Madness can seem a cage, the space limiting, claustrophobic, lonely. Yet, it can be quite comforting in a dire situation. It could be perfect for a short visit, for sorting things out, but it will never give you what YOU seek."
I shifted upon the narrow chair and pretended to be interested in the tea I had not even tasted.
"But, should you choose to think bigger, you can search for the Key that opens the gate into the magical, medicinal Realm of Madness. There, the horizons are a distant haze, and the company at table is fabulous!" She clapped her hands in delight. "You may while away the night in drink with the Green Fairy, have a relaxing smoke with the Caterpillar, play chess with the Cheshire, and best of all, have tea with the Mad Hatter Hare clan! Our teas are superb, and just what the Doctor ordered. " Her focus dissolved into reverie. "Such a delightful Bombay Bedlam, a precocious Pekoe Panic, oh, and my very favorite, Oolong Obsession!"
She leaned across the table, whispering, "I only indulge in THAT one occasionally! Wouldn't do to stay too wrapped up, now would it?"
"The Realm is a place to play, be adventurous, but does come with some little troubles that you will need to heed." She cautioned.
She paused to make sure that my attention was firmly back where it belonged.
"It is really easy to get lost there, to never find your way back. You may lose old friends, family, but of course, there are so many creative, interesting people there that you may never miss your old cronies." She twittered a bit at that, supped her tea and signaled for the biscuits to be brought in.
"But, where so ever shall I find such a key?" I took a small cookie, although I would rather have had a sandwich. The journey to here had been arduous, and I had been on this road a very long time.
"Oh, my! Of course! What a silly old hare am I? We have not spoken of that, now have we? The key to the Realm of Madness is never very far away. And with people of YOUR sort, it is usually extremely close. Have you checked your pockets?"
The intentness of my stare at her would have been the envy of every cat that had ever lived with me. "In my pocket? Really? You are serious? Why would I have not noticed a magical key in my pocket?"
"Why, my dear, simply because you weren't looking for it."
She winked at me again just as a small brown bottle appeared on the table. She poured a wee bit of a pale gold liquid into her cup, never offering me any. She took a sip and seemed to lose interest in our conversation.
I cleared my throat, then I cleared it again. I coughed. Finally, I just started to laugh. It was all so ludicrous. Why had I thought I could find my answers here? My laughter deepened. It was all I could do to stay perched upon the tiny chair.
She returned her gaze to me and started speaking again as if she had never stopped.
"It really is your choice, my dear. You are already at the door to the Room. You can turn the knob and go right in. Or...you can put your hand in your pocket and pull out the Key! It truly is all up to you."