The Mask Is Real

She plays her part everyday. A practiced smile cloaks dissolution, a soft tone camouflages anger, a gentle demeanor belies the drive to succeed. Dissolution, anger, ambition—these things she buries deep beneath the mask she presents to the world.

She was taught the role well, carefully coached to agree instead of argue, to laugh instead of cry, to walk instead of run. She watched her hero sacrifice dreams and desires and then veil disappointment behind coiffed hair, rouged cheeks and trim figure. She mimicked the veneer she admired until that’s all she knew how to do. To her, the mask was real.

She hates the mask, but loves it too. With it on, the people who matter the most to her are happy. They go through life in blissful ignorance of her turmoil within, days of charmed childhood running together in a chain of cheerful memories. She hopes that if she wears the mask well enough, long enough—if she can make the mask real—her own daughters will never know its burden. Standing in her sparkling kitchen, she tucks a curl behind her ear and lets a quiet sigh escape before saying, “Walk darling. Don’t run.”

This was inspired by the Inspiration Monday prompt at Be Kind Rewrite.

18 thoughts on “The Mask Is Real

  1. Pingback: Inspiration Monday: fear vaccine « BeKindRewrite

  2. beautifully written but so so sad. and probably all too common. so grateful that my mom refused to wear a mask, so i never learned to wear one either.

  3. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    I like this one very much. I sort of picture her cutting carrots with a wide blade chef’s knife in that sparkling kitchen.

  4. Very nicely done. Simple yet deeply emotional if you dig past the surface.
    Liked the attention to detail and the way it progressed from where it began to the final line and dialogue. Kudos!

    Also, just because it caught my eye: I think it should be ‘disappointment’ in the second para and ‘sparkLing kitchen’ in the last one.

    Thanks for sharing, cheers.

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