Milton Alexander



Every profound spirit needs a mask: even more, around every profound spirit a mask is growing continually, owing to the constantly false, namely shallow, interpretation of every word, every step, every sign of life he gives.

“But fuck that. You’re really cute! Do you want to make out?” I said, in an attempt at nonchalance. “No, not really,” he replied, nonchalantly.

A mask; a cask and a casket—with tears dried on its exterior and dried human skin lining its interior. Protective, but resented for the fact that we cannot take it off. To see it clearly can only remind us of our isolation.

There are occurrences of such a delicate nature that one does well to cover them up with some rudeness to conceal them.

“That’s cool. I remember, you told me you had a girlfriend,” I offered, in an attempt at factuality. “That’s not why, I’m just not interested,” he replied, factually. “I guess I’ve eaten through the available sex partners in my social circle at this point,” I bragged. He didn’t respond.

Two lies underpin a confession. The first is that the darkness inside the confessional booth is a pretense which allows us to show our selves, though the opposite is true. Never is there a time when our mask is more pure, more refined in its presentation. In the vacancy of confession, we construct darkness around us that is deeper than the physical one—an abyss which dehumanizes our Father confessor. He fades to a point; as the light cone fades to a point near the speed of light, or as the pupils dilate.

Such a concealed man who instinctively needs speech for silence… who is inexhaustible in his evasion of communication, wants and sees to it that a mask of him roams in his place…

“Thanks for being honest instead of taking the chance to stroke my ego,” I later explained. “Sorry for trying to set a trap to not like you,” I projected. “It’s a defense mechanism I have,” I lied. “That’s cool. I mean, I am bisexual and in an open relationship. So it would be weird to be dishonest to that,” he explained, and continuing silently, “Do even you know what you are attempting to provoke?”

The second is that the Father confessor is even inside the booth. As though you were the source and he the sink, absorbing the light of the projection into blackness. But that is not how a projection works. The light reflects back into your eyes, the mask-holes. A rare event unfolds; for once, the mask-wearer sees its tear-stained exterior, and is revolted by its uncanny face.

Some know how to muddle and abuse their own memory… shame is inventive.

“No,” I answered, also silently.

Outside the booth, in dappled light under the cherry tree, the confession is re-analyzed, re-appropriated. Life returns to tempo, a feeling of floating and an industrious callousness. The mask was tested and it succeeded. Or maybe it didn’t, but there was another mask beneath the first, and more of them below. The irrelevant possibility that there are only masks presents itself, and passes by.

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