The Fitting Room - The Ordeal | By: H Frank Vaile | | Category: Short Story - Depressing Bookmark and Share

The Fitting Room - The Ordeal

“Try those on in the fitting room young man”
Says the store clerk to the young poet
And he drops them and runs as fast as he can
The reason?. .well ……I think I know it.

A grave is a body glove for the dead
A rest home is its fitting room
Comfort is not important unless you’re well bred
Get used to the nothing by living in gloom

You wear someone else’s choice of clothing
Even though it’s not very hot
Realize when you go in loathing
You’re already dead if you’re not

Why not just let them pass today?
Let them forego the ordeal
I’m sure you can find some clergy to say
That is how they themselves feel

He may have been a man of great fame
But his family and friends turn their back
And would rather wear a veil of shame
Than humanely send his caisson down the track

If he had complained and raised a stew
He’d been labeled unruly and given a pill
He may seem calm and peaceful to you
But he lacks hope, pride, feeling and will

His dignity left when he passed through the door
And he can’t understand it’s plain to see
He’s given to others his share and more
And now he’s become mere history

Your visits to him decrease over time
Which makes it harder to go again
You become busy with anything you can find
And start praying for it to end

Don’t you see the hypocrisy in this?
It seems so blatantly plain
Cause what you do pray and he does wish
Are, after all, one and the same

Does society care or understand
Enough to try to change how it is?
Not with its awareness tucked in the sand
Where all ignorance is turned into bliss

Like hope crashing into time
Peace happens beyond the last breath
Yet we wait patiently in line
Clinging to life and repulsing death

Each fragment of hope splatters hither and yon
And erodes into a slight empty trace
It’s last sparkle dim in the absence of sun
Leaving a forgotten dream to embrace

As the dim glimmer fades to nothing so fast
Stark unwanted reality sets in
And lashes at him with gloomy overcast
He didn’t get what he wished again

Desperately reaching for someone to hold
He ambles frantically far and wide
Only the young and the naďve need to be told
Why the lonely old man cried

Maybe a wisp of luck will anoint him
Urge him to stop to smile and pray
Another dream to hug, another era to begin
At least till the judgement day

As he marks time he looks around
Many here with him share his dreams and gloom
For he has alit on sacred ground
I call it the fitting room


He has been here for months, a fact he can remember.
But he thinks it’s June and it’s already September.
Feeling guilty about something but not knowing why,
His begins another day with a break down and cry.
His once bright hot flame is now just a warm red ember.

A handsome young man stands waiting inside of the door.
So he asks the smiling young man “Have we met before?”
“Dad, it’s your oldest son Steve, don’t you remember me?
I am sorry it’s been so long, I’ve been real busy.”
“I had only one son and he died in the damn war!”

The young man’s beaming bright smile soon turned into a frown
He watched as his Dad tried but failed to take off his gown.
He thought how his Dad must feel in his present sad state.
And he beat his mind bloody cause he couldn’t relate.
He rarely visits because it really brings him down.

A noise from the hallway is music to the old man’s ears,
A pied pipers promise to erase pain, guilt and fears.
He shuffles over to the door feeling quite blessed
To get his morning’s container of what you have guessed.
Which will bring on a slight smile and dry up any tears.

“Where is that young man”, he inquires, “Why didn’t he stay?”
“Be honest now nurse Humphrey, did you chase him away?”
“I don’t get many visitors and they don’t stay long.”
“I always feel like I have done something very wrong.”
“I wish my oldest son Steve would visit me someday.”

The nurse helps him dress, although there is no matching pair.
Then he shuffles slowly off to his favorite chair,
To do his favorite thing, which is nodding all day.
Some say that is how the forgotten have learned to pray.
I say it’s how they can forget how few really care.


Lately his days have been showered in tears,
Some of them shrouded in fears,
And the last few months seemed like a million years.

The doctor entered the room to begin.
Not wearing his normal grin,
Telling the nurse to contact closest of kin.

He called a number from his black phone book
And as the gray old man shook,
He complained about how long they always took.

They arrived suddenly out in the storm,
Quickly…clearly not their norm,
Groups of curious watchers began to form.

The old man gave up on his hope to stay,
There wasn’t much he could say,
His things were already being hauled away.

His face wore a broad smile and no distain,
As he was wheeled through the rain.
The unlucky were those who had to remain.

The fitting room has but one exit door,
There is no need for one more,
And no man can say he has used it before.


His soul will walk around,
with an eerie dirge sound.
Something it never found
six feet under ground.

His will shrunken to the bone,
the remainder turned to stone.
But he won’t be all alone.
The dirge will be multi-tone.

With an almost flippant flair,
he will rise into the air
to seek the withheld share
of his life’s unclaimed fare.

Some will kneel down and pray,
cause they recall the day
he begged to let him stay,
but they rushed him away.

As they hauled him through the door
and out into the downpour,
some saw the smile that he wore,
most didn’t care any more.

What echoed within their brain
and drove a few men insane,
was his final grim refrain
as he was wheeled through the rain.

“Dignity was my only crave,
but I was treated like a slave.
So I hope you all can be brave.
You will see me after the grave.”


His soul lingered here visiting family and friends.
Making changes ruled his mind for his final earthly visit.
Off to the Fitting Room he hastened with his new mode of travel.
Near his destination he stopped to observe a sad event.
It was his friend Clyde, a fellow Fitting Room denizen.
Clyde was dressed and wore an overcoat and had suitcase in hand.
He yelled “Hey” to Clyde and Clyde couldn’t hear.
Then he noticed Nurse Humphrey running toward Clyde.
Nurse Humphrey grabbed Clyde’s arm and said “you must go back”.
He watched as Clyde struggled and tried to get away.
He yelled “let him go home Nurse Humphrey, please let him go”.
But soon a police car pulled up and they put Clyde in the back.
He tried to help Clyde every way he could but his efforts were fruitless.
They whisked Clyde off back to the Fitting Room.
He floated above the scene pondering for hours.
There was really nothing he could change he sadly admitted.
The tragedy of the Fitting Room would endure despite his wishes.
He gave in to his dismay and hurried along to his final destination.

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