Moira Schmitz

Masks

“I wanna play a game”, she whines. I sigh, snuggling closer and pulling the blanket back over both of us. “Come on”, she pleads softly.

“But I don't want to”, I mutter quietly. “I'm peaceful today.”

“I don't want you to be peaceful”, she complains. “You're supposed to be evil. You owe me, remember?”

“I'm not in the mood.”

“I wasn't in the mood yesterday, either, and I still did it. So you owe me. Besides, I won't kiss you for two weeks if you don't do this now”, she threatens, holding a hand over her mouth. I grin, placing small kisses along her neck and jawline, but she makes a soft “Nuh-uh, nothing for you” as I get closer to her lips.

“Yeah, I know, I'm the worst girlfriend ever”, I murmur sarcastically. “But it's not like you're going to pull this through for two weeks, sweetheart.”

“Believe me, I will”, she responds. “Come on. Be someone you really don't like. It can't be that difficult. Someone you really don't get along with.”

I'm silent for a few moments, seriously thinking about finding somebody, but in the end I shrug and reply: “There's no-one. I kinda get along with everybody.”

“There has to be someone you can't stand. Someone you really hate. Someone you can play as the evil part.”

Again, I just shrug before answering: “I don't think so. People start hating you if you give them a reason to, but I don't.”

She sighs. “It's impossible. Everybody just... likes you.”

“Not everybody”, I amend. “There are...”

“Everybody who knows you”, she corrects, staring blankly at the ceiling. I am still unsure how much that topic gets to her. She keeps telling me it really doesn't bother her, but I find that hard to believe. Maybe I'm not very good at reading people, but the way I mingle with people that she doesn't manage does seem to make her... at least angry, sometimes. Perhaps I wouldn't say sad, but angry. “How's that even possible?”

“I give people what they want”, I reply flatly. “I can be a friend or a lover, somebody to hang out with, somebody to do reckless things with, somebody to cry or to laugh with. It's all acting, really. Like a really bad case of schizophrenia. I'm hundreds of persons. Always the one you want to have. It's easy, because I'm simply far too lazy to argue all the time, it's exhausting. So why cause fights?”

She's silent for a moment, then, with a jerky movement, she turns away, scooting further towards the wall so we don't touch any more. I suppress a sigh, staring at her back. Yup, that had definitely been the wrong thing to say and I can't help the little slip that happens then, making me fall back into logical thinking. If I do this now, then I can still save the situation, right? But that's not what this is about. Not here, not with her.

None of us speaks for quite some time, I honestly can't tell for how long, while I stare at her bare back and think about something to say that doesn't sound like I'm buttering her up. That works with lots of other people, but not with her.

Because she knows.

“What's upsetting me about that”, she eventually speaks up, very quietly, but still distinct, “is that if you do that to other people, how am I supposed to believe that you love me without just giving me what I want?”

And that stings, and for a second I'm tempted to snap at her and tell her that it's bullshit and she knows that, but no, that is so not going to help right now. Another uncomfortable silence settles between us while I fight to get the words out that I usually don't speak out loud. Because they're honest. And in the net of lies I made of my life, I really can't afford being honest.

But this is different, I remind myself. It's something else here.

“It's what I talked to my therapist about yesterday”, I begin quietly. It's not like my therapist knows everything about me, but still, I like the sessions with her. They are sort of soothing. “About the whole honesty thing. Think about it. If I didn't trust you, then I'd never tell you about this, right? I would have left you in the belief that I'm open and honest with everyone I meet. I don't have to tell you about all of this, but I still do, because I don't have to mask myself when you're around. I'm myself with you, I don't have to pretend anything.”

I'm surprised by how hard it is to actually say that openly. It's logical, yes, because I'm admitting weakness here. And I never do that type of thing. But still, I continue: “You know I don't love Leah, now, does she have a clue of that? Does she know of you? Nobody knows of you, but you know of everyone else I bring home... or wherever else.” Slowly, almost shyly, I rest my hand on her waist. She doesn't push it away. “You know everything about me, and you're the only person who does. I can't give you a proof, not a document to confirm all of this, but maybe you can just believe me. Even if I'm the worst person to trust that I know.”

She finally turns back around and looks at me, pushing herself up on her elbows so I have to look up as she says: “That's why you can say no to me, right? Because...”

“Because I trust you not to hate me if I do”, I finish for her. “Because I'm myself here, and I don't pretend wanting things for the sake of your opinion. Because I...” I hesitate to speak that next word, because I don't actually know. I never know. That's the problem with trust, it gets betrayed so easily. Anyway, I finish the sentence: “Because I know that you wouldn't want me to be anyone else.”

She smiles, hesitantly, but still, she's smiling as she leans down to give me a quick kiss on the lips. “Yes”, she breathes, “I wouldn't want that.”

And we do play that game later, after all.  

 

All rights belong to its author. It was published on e-Stories.org by demand of Moira Schmitz.
Published on e-Stories.org on 07/15/2015.

 

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