The cold realities have started seeping in and scare me more than the nightmares ever did. I see her now, looking sometimes at the mask hung in the closet and wondering if she didn’t like me better that way. ‘Do you have to be sad?’ Syllables soft and sharp. ‘Can’t you just… can’t you be happy?’ I tell her it’s not about joy or despair but honesty measured empirically, I won’t hide anymore. We go to sleep with the monster under the bed half discussed and wake in fragmentation. I tell her I’m trying and she nods, ‘I know.’
This is the best mask I could find and still it won’t quite fit. Other people have been wearing theirs for years and it seems like second nature to me. I know some folk never take it off, wearing it to bed, waking and walking around the day fronting fatty tissued grimaces rendered into appropriate composite sketches; contorted, really, to suit a social whim. Suffocating, I should think, the wearer dead like an inside-out puppet, the mask gasping to blend into the atmosphere, exposure a faux pas. I struggle just to put mine on and regurgitate the lines.