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If I Told You
The urge to gently cradle my mask was near unendurable, how weightless it was, the urge to slowly set it beside me, never to pick it up again. Instead, I felt it as it was: seemingly molded to my skin, held in place by invisible, stiff, bony fingers. The mask left me feeling cold; I was losing air as the minutes ticked on. I could see others passing, but I knew they could not see me. They weren't ready, or maybe it was me; maybe I wasn't ready to see them, to face them.
If I told them how I was before, would they follow me? Would someone care?
I cringed away from the shallow longing for warmth, empathy, someone to hold me close to them and whisper sweet things in my ear. I was so cold, if only I could feel the warmth of someone...anyone...but I had been projected, thrown into this lifestyle.
My mask betrayed my confidence, our confidence, by creating a barricade between me and them. As if I'd unconsciously crossed the border-line into no-man's land, I waited. But for what?
I fell silently to my place on the floor, not yet curled up in a ball, but gazing at the mist above my head, searching for stars. The concrete beneath me escaped my notice, for we were now one. Would we always be?
But it was too late now. The curiosity I'd clung to for answers slipped away as I sank deeper into my self-affliction. That's why everyone I saw was above. Above me, above ground, and too far away to notice such a ghostly glow that was me. But a ghost I was not.
I shifted my position and closed my eyes, willing the pale blue tips of my lips to relax. I let my breathing fall in rhythm accordingly to my heart beat, softly humming a song I thought I'd forgotten; my disease had forgotten, but maybe not me. If I told you that I lie sometimes...if I told you life was fair, would you follow me?
I'm shedding my skin so you can see my face
I'm ready to know who I am
I'm ready to go to where I've never been
Will you call my name and follow me...
My eyelids fluttered open, and I felt something of a rough nature grab a hold of me, an abnormality compared to the usual gracefulness that was a given to my second skin's apathy.
If I dared to reach for it, to wonder what would be left without it, would I fall even deeper into my hole? And if I were to be lost forever?
And if I were to be...?
And when you go chasing rabbits, and you know you're going to fall...go ask Alice, when she was just small.
As I sat up, I took in my surroundings and felt a strange emotion grab a hold of me. I saw the remains of a chessboard, which might have once had an appearance as shiny as a pearl though it was delicate now; fragile, but light. That was the strange part of my world underneath: there was light. It was all light, but there no longer seemed to be a beauty underneath as I’d once let myself believe. Beneath a moonless sky, I could sense the horror of the empty chessboard, glancing upwards almost desperately, hoping to catch the eye of a single person.
My mask began to burn, but there was no pleasure that partnered this warmth. I was blind and the world began to spin. I ripped dark strands from my scalp in an attempt to cope with the pain that followed. I reached for the mask. They will not follow you; their lies will seep into your soul and swallow you whole. Without me you are a broken soul, a lifeless body doomed to purgatory.
These were the last threats I heard, as they echoed and reverberated through me. I slid the mask from my face with trembling fingers, as if it were made of a mere mist. I slid back to the ground, feeling a wet trail begin to stain my arm, an unusual symptom; one I hadn't experienced since I was a part of the above world. I could feel the strange texture of grass and dirt beneath my fingertips as they delved deep into the earth, but I couldn't find the strength to pull myself up.
I'm alive...I am so alive.
And as I gently pushed the dark veil of hair away, gently caressing my face, my true face...
I felt warmth.