Masquerade

The thing with Masquerade balls is that everyone comes with a mask. And at some point, everyone’s identity is revealed.
In a sense the past couple months feel like the ball. I’ve been holding onto that mask for all I’m worth…and its about to be grabbed from my face and my full identity revealed.
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Because you see…my birthday is on Wednesday. And people will wish me happy birthday. Which in itself is not a bad thing. But there are those who suppose that I’m younger than I am in actuality, and they are in for the shock of their lives. Well…perhaps only one person in particular.
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Its been one of those dances, where you’re in a round and you start off with your partner and then they move to the next person in the round and so forth until you find yourselves on opposite ends of the room, seemingly having a great time with other partners but not quite sure when it is that you’ll be flung together again. But the things is…you only know the person based on the identity you chose when you came to the ball…and your short stint dancing together doesn’t reveal a whole lot about anything deeper than appearances.

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This dance, has been a long one. It seems to go on forever. Or maybe its just the ball that seems to go on forever. I’m not one for a crush of guests, but when I entered and saw you, it was like all the dancing partners that I’ve been bridge burned by showed up in ghost form, or at least haunted me in memories of things left unsaid, and moments that have dug deeply into my heart with bitterness festering. Though you left me reeling and confused, I felt I could be myself…though I’m sure there was still the illusion. You can wear and mask and reveal yourself truly, without ripping all the wounds clear and clean, and revealing who you are beneath what looked like a gaudy painted on face anyway.

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The thing about the masquerade is that everyone can mingle. And most people are there to be someone else for the night. And while you’re not mine, for some reason I’ve taken a shine to you and my eyes follow you around the room. All those ghosts have sat themselves down at my table, and began to regale themselves with tales of what has been and the missteps I’ve taken on the dance floor of life. They mock this enchantment as just another mask to stash away one day in a closet full of dreams hidden behind other facades. And though I’m a lost cause, even to myself, I see my blood boil and my face color with jealousy and betrayal, when neither of these are your weapons but rather the poisoning of my own mind.

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Tomorrow, I’ll wake up with aching heels, my feet sore from the dance floor. And I’ll see my mask sitting on the table next to my bed. And I’ll know that there is a place for this mask next to the others I’ve had stashed away. Reality hurts too much anyway. There should always be something to hide behind. Perhaps my age is where I’ll start.

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One thought on “Masquerade

  1. I love this piece and your analogy. I turned 50 last year and it was shocking for some in my circles. My friends reflect a variety of generations-big sister, little sister, mom….I find as an adult my friendships go deep fast and the casual information is skimmed over. The funny thing is that some of my friends are mothers and daughters and I relate to them in different ways. Maybe you go with the mask initially-could preconceived notions of one’s actual identity be changed once they get to know you-after you’ve been wearing the mask?

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