Masks

Story Samples

            “The masks are there for a reason.”

            “What reason is that?”

            “I don’t know.”

            “Then how do you know it’s there for a reason?”

            “Everything is there for a reason.  People are afraid to show their faces, because faces can serve as a window into the soul.  And most people don’t have souls worth examining.  But not all masks are created equally, and many people wear different varieties of masks. Some go closer to the soul than others.”

            “Howso?”

            “Take these two separate situations: the first is of a man that wears a mask of presentation.  When he offers a glimpse of himself to people he doesn’t know, he Peacocks and presents himself as an artist.  He references himself casually as man of great importance for which the world will one day recognize.  His tone changes and he hides any aspect of himself that is not reflective of the artistic mask.”

            “So he fakes it?”

            “No, you aren’t listening.  He isn’t faking it.  He becomes the mask and doesn’t allow himself to be anything else at that moment.  Yet that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a mask.  Look at a comparable situation of a man who interjects himself into a nearby conversation when one conversant is asking for advice.  He will offer a casual suggestion, perhaps valid or perhaps not, but he is also wearing a mask.  The difference is that his mask is progressive, modifying itself to the situation.If the mask doesn’t fit, it must be discarded.”

            “Then what’s the difference in the masks?”

            “One is practiced and pre-selected.Pretentious.  The other is chosen carefully at a moments notice and constantly fearful of rejection.  Yet they are both masks.”

            “Why do we need the masks then?”

            “Society can’t function without masks.”

            “But what if no one wore masks, and everyone allowed people to see them as they truly are?”

            “No one is truly anything.  We are fluid, shifting. The masks are solid and unwavering.They fill pre-conceived roles that society has dictated so that the decisions are made for us.  If someone walks into an establishment where simplicity and flirtation are the norms then she would don the mask to suit the occasion.If she instead stepped into a situation where intelligence was valued she would don another mask.  Some people are chameleons, adapting to their surroundings on a whim, while others are incapable of creating masks to fit new situations.”

            “But isn’t it better to wear fewer masks?  If we become the masks when we wear them, and we wear many masks, then are we ever really anything?”

            “That is a risk we run.  The more sociable one is, the lonelier they often become.”

            “Do we ever take our masks off?”

            “Rarely and briefly.”

            “What if I wanted to take my mask off right now?How would I go about doing that?”

            “When you find out, let me know.”