One time, the man who would become my best friend and worst enemy told me that I slipped between masks. He said I did it like most people change clothes. He said he couldn’t love me if I’d never show him my real face.
My real face? What is that? Scrubbed clean of lipstick and mascara? Wet with tears? Asleep? What did he mean?
My real face is a mask. It’s an honest mask, as all masks are. See, the way I understand it, the mask is the most honest thing there is. People know it’s not you under there, because you’ve gone to all the work of putting on the fancy mask, see? If they are paying attention, they know they have to pull the mask aside and look underneath.
It’s a surprise, every time. To them, and to me. What’s going to look back at them? The devil? The survivor? The witch? All of them are facets of me, each decked out in a Carnivale harlequin, or velvet, or ash. A different day, a different memory, a different need.
That’s why I wear a mask. I want people to have to look down in, to see what I treasure enough to hide.
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