There she stood amidst the sea of people going about their daily busyness. “Madam, this here is the best in town!” A man with a funny hat, waved a theater mask in front of her, “Hide that frown with a smile!”. She quickly glanced at him and kept walking.
It began to snow. As the temperature dropped to the negatives, people hurried to warm themselves, rushed inside the local pubs, cafe, anywhere that offered warmth. The cold no longer bothered her, for love had left her heart. Tears fell on her cheeks, she quickly wiped them away. She was always strong and today she will be strong.
Emptiness gnawed her soul. Something was terribly missing. She walked faster. It didn’t matter anymore where she would end up, just keep walking. “You okay, dear?” someone noticed awhile. “I’m fine.” She faked. Keep walking. It’s getting colder. She held tighter to her arms and elbows, breathed out a mist of warm air.
Her mission: to find Him. He said the busyness will not satisfy. He said the masks will not ease the pain. He said the emptiness will not disappear. She bumped into Him, one day, long ago. Her porcelain mask crashed into the hard pavement. She stooped down quickly in a panic, grabbed all the broken pieces, didn’t mind the sharp edges cut through her skin, she needed this face to be fixed. When her mom died, she wore it to hide her sadness. When her relationships failed, she wore it to hide her loneliness. When she didn’t get the job promotion, she wore it to hide her disappointment. When the doctors told her “it” was spreading, she wore it to hide her fears. “Keep busy!” the billboards shone brightly around, there were lights everywhere, people, sounds, noise. Static smiles forging ahead for a brighter busyness.
She looked up, ready to curse the person who bumped her. Surprised, she sees a face, an actual face. Time seemed to pause. Something strange about this Man. Nobody, dared to roam the streets without a proper face placed on. She was curious, didn’t He know about the busyness? He grabbed a handkerchief from his pocket and handed it to her. At that moment, there was a warmth that surged through her. Everyone walked past by them, they stepped on the shattered pieces of the mask, some of the pieces got covered by snow. There she gazed at Him, for once, her face laid bare: wrinkled forehead, tear stained rosy cheeks, and a hollow look inside her eyes. No words were spoken, but so much was said. His eyes were like fire, she felt Him leading her away, to a place where she can escape the busyness. A place where she no longer needs to hide.
She grasped the handkerchief tight as she surveyed the area where it all happened. Will He be here again? She wondered. A huge crowd shoved through the street, people bustling out from the subway stations. She sees Him. Not afar off.
“Sir! I want to know!” She yells, but her voice was drowned out by all the active noise around her. Sirens in the distance, people chatting away, sounds of cabs beeping their way through traffic…
Her fingers were numb, and she no longer had enough strength to keep walking. But she tried. She fumbled through the crowd, until her voice was sore, until it was but a whisper, “Sir, I want to know…”
He stopped. As if He heard something. He turned his head to see.
Their eyes met, “Sir, I want to know…”.
(pic from https://www.freeimages.com/photo/venetian-mask-female-1421845 by Nico1)