Featured Fiction Fall/Winter 2016 / drawing, “Doctor” by Glenn Tolle
Madeline made sure to tuck her mother and father in before going to bed lest
they come to her in the night wanting to be held. She would make sure their
comforter was secured firmly under their chins and that their pillows were
without lumps. She would tuck and adjust the blankets so that their cold bare
feet would not get any colder, and she would turn down the oil lamp to a faint
spark whisking in the glass. Then she’d close their door and go to her own bed.
There she would secure her own comforter, check her own pillow for lumps,
adjust her own blankets ,tuck her own cold bare feet in and turn her own oil
lamp to a spark, close her own door and wait. Under her own secure comforter.
Under her own adjusted blankets. Head resting on her own pillow without lumps.
Cold. It wasn’t a just sensation for Madeline. It wasn’t just something she felt
before stoking the fire or filling the cracks in the sod with bits of handkerchiefs
and stockings. It was a life, a color, an emotion. The life she was born into, the color of the
walls, and her parents’ feet the emotion that took residence in the empty pantry in her
father’s chair and mother’s sewing basket. The cellar of her mind that was
kept for preserving happy memories, like ham and eggs, but was instead stocked
for a never ending winter, every jar filled with nothing. Nothing but cold. Madeline sometimes
wondered what memories like ham and eggs felt like, looked like, and tasted like. She
wondered the same thing about real ham and eggs. Then she heard cold feet making
their way to her door and she went to bed hungry.
Glenn is a writer, cartoonist and collector residing in Rochester NY. His father is
by trade a grave digger and his mother…well… just watch the news.