Friday Fiction: “Face Off”


“Face Off”
WC: 382

“Let me see what I can find for you in my closet.

I got this mask, Hurt, in elementary school when someone picked on how tall I was. And, here, this one, the Mask of Artificial Gratitude, I use it a lot. I got it at my 12th birthday party when one of my friends gave me an atrocious gift. When I entered ninth grade the cool kids were talking about hooking up. I would’ve rather been reading a book, but I was handed this mask of Interest and put it on instead. I’ve got a good collection. Almost something for any occasion.

The masks can be cumbersome but when so many friends have them it’s fun to swap them out or share them. I have no problem lending one to you.”

“What about the Faces? Well, everyone makes a big deal about them, but really their stories are only slightly different. And so much more work!

My sister is a Face. When she was offered the mask of Hurt she walked away. She received the expressions of Strength and Self-Confidence. When she received a gift she couldn’t use she was handed the mask of Artificial Gratitude and again refused. Instead, she learned the expressions of Sincerity and Graciousness when she remarked on an aspect of the gift that she found appealing and focused on the value of her relationship with the individual. When everyone started talking about ‘doing it’ and ‘dating’ my sister went off and read a book if she wanted. She now has the expressions of Independence and Intelligence. She can make her eyes twinkle, her eyebrows move up and down, her nose scrunch and her mouth frown in sadness, clench in anger, or smile in joy according to how she feels. Makes me tired just thinking about all those decisions.

She’s a Face. I’m a Faceless. There’s no big difference. I put on a Mask; she wiggles and distorts her facial features all the live-long day. It’s just life.

Ah, here we go. How about this one: the Mask of Acceptance. It’s a little worn – it’s like the little black dress of Masks – great for just about everything and always makes you look good.

Go ahead. Put it on. Even better, these are all ‘one size fits all.’”

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