Pretense

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Pretense

The weight is crushing.
When you first accept even what feels like a thin veil,
it becomes sodden with the wet and the dirt and the elements.
To communicate becomes difficult
as the woven fabric sticks to your lips.

You attempt to live with the veil,
you say “It makes me better.”
It is a sickening thought that is veiled just as you are.
Self-prevarication, self-trickery,
all to distract from that crushing weight.

What was once a veil becomes a full suit.
You still wear it, though uncomfortably, and problems persist.
How can I make this practical?
Why did I put this on?
The answers are obvious and the questions have no meaning.
It becomes a thing to do, to wear this suit,
although the weight is crushing.

You attempt to adapt to this new livelihood
You tailor the suit,
take it in for cleaning,
and regularly inspect it for deficiency.
You forget the color and feel of your skin.

To wear this suit becomes you.
You major in suit wearing in college,
get a good job wearing your suit,
and your suit buys you a nice house.
You watch, in your suit, as a woman approaches you.
She slowly trudges toward you under the crushing weight of her own veil.

New questions arise though,
more troubling than the ones before.
Did I really go to college?
Is this my job?
Is this my wife?
Is this my life?
The weight again becomes crushing
when the answers escape you.
It is your suit’s job,
your suit’s wife,
and your suit’s expensive home.
You own nothing without it, like some lopsided pre-nuptial agreement
signed at the onset of your relationship.

In some time yet, a tornado approaches.
It blocks your path with its savage grey body.
As it whips you around, your suit is ripped to tatters.
Your home is a pile of faded red bricks and shattered toothpicks,
and there you stand,
starkly naked in front of your wife, your boss, and your friends.
They pass you by to pick up the tatters.
The suit was more than you.
The suit was real.
The crushing weight is lifted.

For the first time,
you go to sleep naked.
When you wake up the next day, a new suit finds you weak, untrained,
and unable to resist.
You are unable to support the crushing weight.





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