The Mask

Iíll never understand you, she said,
Iíll never understand why you must always pretend,
Why you must always wear that silly mask,
Even at dinner,
Even in bed.

Donít be angry, he told her,
Itís just a harmless peccadillo,
And anyway, I donít wear the same one all the time.

No you donít, she said, visibly confused,
The one youíre wearing at the moment is a sombre one,
But the one you wore this morning, less than an hour ago,
That was a horrible one,
You know how I hate it,
You know how it frightens me,
Yet you continue to wear it everyday.

Iím sorry, he told her, donít be upset,
You know how much it distresses me to see you so,
You know how much I love you.

If that is true, she said,
And if you do truly love me.
Then just this once youíd take that mask off
And let me see what you really look like.

All right, he told her, for he really did love her,
And he really didnít want to hurt her.
He turned around, removed the mask, and stood holding it in his hand;
Here, he said, look.

But you havenít removed it, she said.

Yes I have, look, I have it here.
And he held it up for her to see.

Her eyes switched from his face to his hand,
From his hand to his face,
From his face to his hand,
Then back to his face again.

But I...I d-donít understand, she stammered.
Neither do I, my love, he said, neither do I.

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