When I wore the mask, i was a different person. I don’t mean I felt like a different person. I mean the bones of my face became a harder web of calcified forms, my muscles were taut, knotted bunches of foreign power, and my skin groaned to stretch over unfamiliar structures.
When I wore the mask, I saw the world for what it really was. Looking out of the narrow eye holes carved into the leather by sure hands, my life came into sharp focus. The long, rigid nose of the mask made me turn my head more slowly, forcing me to see details that I normally missed. The dull glint of beer bottles by the sofa, a reflective, impassive audience to my evening. The empty mantle where my family pictures used to sit. A glass in the dishwasher with some other girl’s lipstick on it.
"Why are you wearing that creepy old thing?" he asked. He was sitting on the sofa, legs sprawled out, holding a beer. Through the eyes of the mask, I could see that he was older than when I’d first met him, and that his mouth was twisted. He was waiting for me to make dinner, but instead I was wearing the mask. "It makes you ugly, like you need the help. Where the hell’s the food?"
When I wore the mask, I saw my boyfriend the way he really was. I saw how his fingers curved around a bottle that matched the shard of glass on the floor that matched the shape of the hole in my face.
"Did you hear me?" he asked. His eyes were small and didn’t catch the light. My feet were next to the bottle he’d used to carve eye holes into my cheeks. "Say something. I don’t like you wearing that thing."
I reached down, very slowly, and picked up the shard of glass with fingers I didn’t recognize. I turned to him as he stood up, lurching onto his feet. I held the glass in front of me.
When I wore the mask, I didn’t feel sorry.
just a shortie as I get ready for my NYC trip!
image courtesy: Chiara Marra