Friday, June 15, 2007

dry grass

The mask he wears, the half mask, slips and he leaves it where it falls. You had thought it hid some deformity, but the flesh is unscarred, mostly, although startling in its paleness. Used as you are to the asymmetry, it is unsettling to see his face whole. Why did he wear a mask? He must feel naked now.

He looks at you, from an angle, sideways and slightly down, his face impassive. Impassive. Impassive. Impasse. His lips pull into a slight meaningless smile, and only his eyes hold any expression. What it is you cannot say. The narrowness of doubt. The depth of pain. The twist of something you cannot give a name. Snake-eye coldness. He opens his mouth slightly, as if to speak, but he is silent. He must think he has said enough. Too much. He must think he looks naked. His lips close again, and you hear only a slight sigh, the rustling of dry grass. Slight. Every movement is slight. Slight. Sly.

Still as he is, you could approach. But there is something about him, and you have no desire to draw nearer. Something. Something repellent or menacing but no that's not it. Something that requires solitude.

You had expected to see some wound, some deformity. Now you do. And you understand why he wore a mask, and why he let it lie.

You understand. Serpents shed their skin. The mask didn't slip at all. He let it fall. It was a misdirection. He always wears a mask. He wears one still.



Anonymous said...

I want to know when you're gonna publish your first novel.

Jack H said...

How can I write with these constant interruptions?

I'd publish, only I'm too stupid and unlovable. Who could want me? And I'm ugly too.