She is a plain schoolgirl who's life as ordinary as the next one. The only thing different about her is her is how she sees it. Gray. Full of nothing but bitterness. Her parents love her unconditionally, and she, just as much, loves them, but sometimes love is not enough, and that's how it is in Melinda's case, because there is a barrier between her and the rest of the world. She can't explain why or how. She just knows it has been there all her life. She is stuck inside her own world, and forever disconnected with this one. She sits at the desk in the back of the classroom, so that no one will see her if she has a melt down. She combs a nervous hand through her hair and clumps of it fall out. She sorts through it for any more gray ones, and then a hand slams against her desk.
" Do you have your homework?" The teacher asks.
She rapidly looks through the pile of messy papers in her school bag, desperate to find the work she is sure she brought with her this morning. She knows she doesn't have much time before tears start to trickle down her face.
"Melinda, this isn't the first time you've forgotten your homework. You have to learn to be more organized. Just look at this bag of yours, it's a wonder you can find anything! I will be sending a note home to your parents and I expect you to come up with a strategy together." He walks away. His words echo in her head along with the words of all the other teachers, who bombarded her with expectations she couldn't live up to. Around and around they swirled until she felt she might die if she couldn't make them stop. So she screams. It is a loud, shrill cry that makes everyone jump, and then her teacher walks her down to the office, and calls her parents to come pick her up.
At dinner that night, her mother makes spaghetti and meatballs, which is her favorite, except this time it doesn't taste like food, and she isn't hungry anyway, so refuses to eat it. Her parents ask her a lot of questions about how she's feeling, and she knows all the answers but she can't put them in to words. She just sits there for a while and says nothing.
"Sweetie?" Her mother is deeply concerned. "Are you ok?"
Melinda bangs her fist on the table. "No, I'm not ok! I haven't been ok for a long time and no one understands because you're all so stupid!" She throws her spaghetti on the floor. She smashes plates and cups to pieces, and grabs a knife from the kitchen drawer. She glares at her parents, then gazes at the knife, entranced by it's beauty, but her father grabs it from her before she can do any damage. She throws herself onto the floor and kicks and screams for what seems like hours. Then her mother says in a soft and sweet voice, "We've talked with your therapist and it seems like your condition is only getting worse. Worse to the point where living at home…" Her voice falters with emotion. "Where living at home is not the best environment for you. And we said it would be best if you went to live somewhere else for just a little while."
"No! You can't take me to a mental hospital! They'll lock me up and try to make me different!"
"We just want you to be happy, darling."
"I won't be happy. They'll lock me up and try to make me different. If you loved me you wouldn't make me go."
"We're doing this because we love you. One day you'll understand."
The next morning, they take her away. She takes one last look at her so-called loving parents, who have abandoned her to a bunch of strangers in white uniforms, and then walks into the asylum, where her life will be drastically altered forever. She hates everyone and speaks to no one, and spends the days condemned in a small, white room, writing all her devious thoughts down in a journal. She creates a world of her own, more real and more beautiful than the human world. It is a topsy-turvy world with magic, talking plants, mysterious animals and music so beautiful it would cause someone with little imagination to go mad. The world sings of a joy that is fairer than the heavens, and feels like liquid gold inside her ears. She knows now that she has to choose between living in the disgusting earth into which she was born, where she will be locked up until the doctors fix her, so she can live a normal, boring life, or there is this new world. A world the doctors would call insanity. But ever since the new world formed inside her mind, she has felt more alive than ever before. A world that understands her and depends on her for survival. The choice is obvious. And once she is chosen, she is happily surprised when the hospital room completely disappears, and she finds herself in the magical garden, where she can touch and feel everything she has longed for. She forgets all about her previous life and who she used to be, knowing only of where she is now.
She explores for a time, and for a time she is happy. But then she grows bored and terribly lonely. Although the plants and animals are wonderful, they will never be the same kind of company another human can be. She creates a portal to another world that is full of people. People who's love and affection she could live off. She needs to have someone all to herself, and will stop at nothing until she has succeeded.