Taking Off the Mask – A Poem

“You gotta be careful when you take that mask off.”smaller

She said.

I looked at

her and the

shadows that emanated

off of her.

I knew she

was going through

a dark time,

that she felt

the loss of

her husband as

if it were yesterday.

“What do you mean?”

I asked.

She gave me

a sage look

and said:

“People wear masks all the time. You never truly know anyone. You only know what they show you.”

I thought of

what I chose

to show the

world, what I

chose to let

others see. As

I thought about

this, I reached

up to touch

my face, to

see if I

could feel any

masks there. I

didn’t feel any

ridges or markings

that would denote

a mask. I

wondered if I

lived without one.

Later, while walking

on the sand,

the ocean filling

the air with

its music, I

looked at the

man I loved so

deeply. I could

see no mask

there. Even so,

I reached up

and touched his

face and felt

a ridge there.

I slowly pulled

the mask away

only to see

his face just

as I knew

it. He reached

up and pulled

away the mask

I wore, too.

“Do I look different?”

He shook his

head and said:

“You look just as you always do to me. Beautiful.”

It occurred to

me that maybe

there were people

we were comfortable

enough to just

be ourselves completely,

and what a

marvelous gift we

had given each other.

I took his hand

and we walked

on, letting the

masks fall away

to the sand.

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