How can I hurt someone who I love so much?
It’s a question that will forever haunt me, a loss that consumed us to ashes. Worthless words, typed with numb hands, by a wimpy kid. It’s all I have left, empty symbols side by side which try to cobble together what I feel now. I wish I could rip it out from inside and gift it to you. To burn it if you may…
It’s a dark moment in life when you wish not to be anymore. Just to vanish, *spoof*. Just like that, like nothing happened. To disappear into nothingness. Never to come back, leaving just a memory behind. Leaving all the mess behind, all the people you touched and, of course, all the people you hurt. All the guilt and all the sorrow, all the tears and all the hope, all the despair… Dump all the hate I have for myself into nothing. Becoming NO THING. That would be such a relief… but being a coward is always easier.
Lying is the talk of soulless men. Men with no guts to face the music of life, selfish cowards. I convinced myself to wear a mask, to hide my true face. I chose to walk the path of the weak disguised as a knight in a shining armour. An armour that was supposed to protect me, but I was actually rotting from inside.
When I was seven, my mother left to work abroad. I come from a lower middle class family and that that was a way to build a better future. Although I never judged her for leaving and although in the end things worked out somehow, I was never the same. It was such a hard thing to cope with, this feeling of abandonment, that I created a mask. A persona if you may, which would protect me from ever being abandoned.
This chameleon would change colours and even shape-shift based on every type of social situation. It would to the dirty jobs for me, a sort of internal symbiosis of selfs. It was a good run, so far so good. But what happens when your mask turns against you? What happens when it gets so blurry that you forget who you are? Who am I?
Pealing off this mask which stuck to my face as a second skin, I find this little boy again. The kid who felt abandoned when he was seven. He’s sitting on the edge of a sidewalk, with his head bowed down playing with a stick in the dirt. He looks hopeless and doesn’t even notice my presence. Or he does but he doesn’t care. So I sit beside him, as a sort of camaraderie-ship. At first I don’t say anything as he doesn’t seem to want to be bothered by anything or anyone. So I sit there for a while so he gets used to my presence. I know if I just talk with him and ask him what’s wrong he won’t answer. So I start acting silly. I really do my best and put a lot of effort into it and eventually after some time, I steal a first smile. “Ok, so you can smile.” And then he smiles back again.
He doesn’t know who I am, but I know him very well. He feels downhearted, alone and scared. He’s not easy to show himself to me as he’s afraid that the nice stranger making funny faces might also leave him. So I stick around for a while and play with him. My heart doesn’t allow me to give him a reality check. How could I possibly tell this kid to suck it up. Just give him a shoulder tap and tell him that this is just how life is sometimes.
I see him carving out a mask out of a piece of cardboard. I know what it is for and it’s not just for playing make-belief. It’s something much more special than that. I know, because I had it on my face for such a long time. I know what effect the mask will have on him, but I let him do it anyway. This kid is already heartbroken so I can’t deliver him another punch.
He finally finishes the mask, and tries is on. I looks so good on him, he’s like a new kid. Very cute and playful, not a worry in the world. I allow myself to be fooled by his mask and we play a game of make-belief together. We had so much fun together that we forgot about all our troubles. Now the sun is finally setting and the kid, takes his mask off for a moment, and tells me he has to go home. I hug him and let go. The kid goes home wearing his mask.
Yesterday I looked in the mirror and noticed a crack in my mask. “Hmm, that’s strange… “ I said to myself. “I take such good care of this old thing, how could this happen? … It certainly wasn’t me, so who broke it then?”. But I know who it was. It was you. You cracked my mask. Not by force, you didn’t even have to touch it. It was because for the first time in a long time the kid behind it started to smile. The mask was used only to this sad mould for such a long time and the kid smiled so much that the mask started cracking. I felt like I had to take it off, so I started to gently peal it of piece by piece. Because I had it for such a long time, some pieces were very stuck to my face so I had to rip some of them off leaving traces of blood in the sink. I took a selfie and sent it to you.
You never saw me without the mask before and I feel very vulnerable now that I showed you my true face. I am at your mercy…