A Mask Unseen

There is a person within me whose wretchedness can be masked with a smile, with a coy grin, a witty remark. 

The mask is well crafted—years have been dedicated to this. It holds itself upright so that when I turn, it turns, and when I go to bed at night it doesn’t fall off.

But the mask is broken. Its shattered fragments stretch and tear, crumble and tumble down and away, so that it needs fixing all the time.

There are moments when it falls off, when I get to see the horrified faces of those who observe what lies beneath: a creature in darkness; the beast in the garden. Those who see it flee. They are smart, they know better.

Last night, the mask broke.

Today I pick up pieces of it—shattered fragments of its jagged edges—to see whether it still forms a person, to see whether that person will ever be whole again.

But no: it never was a person, you see; and it never was whole. Only a mask.

It’s all anyone has ever seen.

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