It watches me. The mask, that is. It’s lying on the desk, looking oh-so-innocent, but I’m not fooled. I know what it can do. I’ve seen it in action.
It doesn’t look like it could bring the economy to its knees, crumbling civilizations and destroying livelihoods. If it did, it wouldn’t be silver, with black decorations and slender black ribbons with which to tie it on.
And despite its power, this mask is in my bedroom. On my desk. Watching me.
It wants me to put it on. It wants me to feel that familiar weight on my face, to let go of my daytime identity. It wants me to become who I am in the night time. Should I?
Should I let go of emotion: of love and hate, of hopes and dreams, of friendship? Should I don an outward appearance that shields my true self from the people who would know me? Should I let go of the girl that everyone knows and sees, and become the one that nobody sees?
I step forward, take the mask. Smooth beneath my trembling fingers. Cold, despite the heat of a summer evening. And heavy. Far heavier than a mask should be.
It fits me perfectly. As I tie the bow, I feel my persona becoming fluid, melting to accomodate the new ‘me’. I let go, falling away …
But wait! Do I want this?
I would be powerful; I would know no love. I would be the greatest; my friends would be strangers to me. Every person would be at my command; I would be alone. Could I – should I?
My decision is made.
The mask falls from trembling fingers. Hits the floor. Shatters. Nothing but shards of glass in a circle on the floor: no power left, now.
Would I have given up everything for that?
I can scarcely believe it.
I look at the broken mask.
Then again, I almost did.