Real? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Real? by C. S., North Adams, MA
I knew the people there weren't real, don't think I didn't. When they were all looking the other way, I checked my hypothesis. They were really just pieces of cardboard, painted on one side. Nothing much, really. I knew that the trees and mountains were only props on a stage. The people there couldn't watch me all the time, although they tried, and I managed to discover things like this. In fact, that's how I found out the cars didn't really move. One day, I decided to roll down the window, just to feel the breeze, but there was no wind. It was really just a canvas that rolled by the windows. I reached my hand out to feel the painting, but it was still wet, and my fingertips left green streaks across the sky where there once had been leaves. I smudged the shingles off the rooftops of the houses rolling by, I smeared the doorknobs off the doors. Soon the whole painted world was a great, confusing mass of colors. There were no identifiable shapes, no definite edges, simply a blur where reality had once stood, until I defied it.
Now, of course, the two-dimensional people were angry with me for ruining their "homeland," and they came after me. Now that I knew the truth, I no longer feared them, so with one deep breath, I blew them all away into the wind. And because the paint was still wet, they stuck to the smudged scenery, no longer controlling me like before.
So this is how I came to live in that messed-up, paint and plaster world for a time. I tried to play along, pretend things were the way they should be, but you know what? I honestly have to say that after I found out that the sky stopped about 30 feet off the ground at a blue ceiling, and the moon was only a light bulb, life was even duller than it had been before: no mysteries, no excitement, just existence. Of course, that was all a long time ago, and I'm in the real world now. Let me tell you, it's wonderful to be back in a world of (basically) three-dimensional people, where you can roll down the window and feel a breeze, and the trees (thankfully) don't smudge. I doubt I'll ever find myself back there again, but even so, I often find myself checking to make sure that what I'm seeing is real. I don't know why though, because I'm not sure what I'd do if I found out it wasn't. I probably would play along, rather than destroy it, like last time. Believing in something that doesn't exist is better than not believing in anything at all.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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