Glass. Shattered glass. Falling to the floor around my feet, see-through shards somehow emptily reflecting what I am, or what I should be. And with a mask this heavy, so hard to wear, in need of tailoring, what is there left to do but walk on and keep calm? Drop a blood, then another. Splatter against the ground. Is it an essence, a piece of my soul, or just another smeared piece of art? Add a touch of life, love, laughter, and feed it to the dogs. Crunch.
But sometimes even people like myself fall into a certain set of hands. Sometimes we lose our way, become stranded in an endless void that mimics our loved ones, and plays the ultimate illusion of peace. Suffering and alone at the gates of hell, even the Reaper won't let you in.
Not because you're an angel, not because you're a demon. But because you're human. You simply don't belong anywhere. And if the mask fits, wear it.
But in this case, if it's hollow and half empty, sagging off of your face and struggling to stay attached, maybe the best thing to do is let it drop, along with the peices of your life, along with the glass, your blood, and the cold, unrealistic memories of what 'god' puts us through. But maybe that isn't the case, not exactly. Maybe the mask isn't attached to my face. Maybe it's attached to my soul, and as I hide from who I really am, it'll just keep suffocating me until I acknowledge it with great concern.
An awful lot of Maybe's.
Walking down the streets, step after step, my eyes follow my shadow as it's casted in front of me... The sky is setting quickly, becoming a musky gray that smothers the sun. Within hours, The night will approach, and all will be empty on these streets, except for a few criminals or lunatics, sometimes both. Often, Both.
There's a horrible stench, but it isn't so horrible. It's what the people around here would call normal. I ask myself how I got here, but there's only one real answer- Foot steps, and that's the only answer i'll accept, because every other answer would involve digging deep down, giving a shit about what's happening, what's happened, what's been lost, and what i'm yet to gain.
So I walk.
I walk through the stench and disturbed surroundings. I do not ignore the screaming people, the crying children, the burning fires, or the numbing cold. I do not cherish it, either. I just walk.
Snow blankets my surroundings, thick and cold. People set fires in trash bins and buckets. A breeze rolls in. I shiver and I shudder, but the rest of the people seem to be unaffected. Maybe they've grown used to it, I wonder. But I know it isn't true.
They are numb. Not only physically, but emotionally, and not even death could stir them awake from the deep depression they've fallen into.
Brick walls are covered in what the law calls vandalism. The younger ones may call it art. Self expression. I call it useless, a bother. Just another marking that will fade and wash away with rain and time. I huff out an icy breath, which whisps away into the frozen fog. Like the so called art, my previous breath diminishes.
If I were to keep walking, i'd be out of this street, into a broader daylight and away from the stench and aura of filth, of welfare, cigarettes, corrupted childhoods and... the list goes on. This street, alley way... it stands for too much, too much of what wealthy people ignore, for me to name every single word that describes it. When I find a word, I will remember it. When I find it, the word, maybe it will enlighten me on what this hell is, what it means, and why it's here. But for now, I will just walk. Not to the daylight, but through the dark.
A homeless man wearing nothing but rags is huddled against a flaming trash can, calling to me. He makes gestures with his hands, and expects me to understand what it means. He thinks I am one of them, maybe. It's a possibility. I am not dressed in the best clothing. I am not weather-proof, or happy looking. I am just me. Not a man, not a woman. Just a human.
This. This is how most of the people are around here. Some manage to pay for shabby apartments. Some simply wander. Others, like this man, Do neither. They wait. They wait in the cold beside a scorching fire, trying to warm their numbed hands and hearts. They recall the good days, not the bad. Because this is the bad. And if I were them, I would want to forget about the bad, too.
But the bad is sometimes hard to get by. Sometimes it is too prominent, too bold. Sometimes it sheds darkness over our entire perspective and warps us dementedly. Around here, It is not 'sometimes'. It is all the time.
He continues to beckon me over. I give in. My mask may be cruel and sturdy, but underneath, I am but a person. Not a man, not a woman. A human. And so I spare five dollars. I would've given him more, but it is winter, and I have been franticly prepping myself with warm clothes, and paying for my small, quaint apartment to be kept heated. With a small spending budget, five dollars is all I can do.
He accepts it, with a smile. He blesses me, over and over. He spews bullshit about god, and begs me to accept his thanks. Just five dollars has made this mans' day, and later tonight, it will have filled his stomach.
Now, I continue on my way, down the street, into that daylight I had mentioned.
No one bothers me on my way. I'm grateful. I have no more money for the homeless, and i'd be beaten if a petty thug found me to be broke.
My apartment building is grounded, and right beside a conveniant store. It's on an open street, a street in which this hell opens up into. The demons from this alley spill out into my daylight, ruining it. They want some of the happiness i'm supposed to have. I don't blame them.
It's an ideal place to live, for people who are slightly below middle class.
My apartment has barelly any decor. Just what I need to survive. I keep the stained curtains closed at all times, and the door locked. I do not wish to be bothered, not with whatever is out there. Not like there is much to bother me, anyway.
I hear static from the t.v, and know it has been on. I have no room mates- Just a female pug, who sleeps all day on the couch. She must've turned it on, I mumble to myself under my breath.
Moving through my limited living space, I find her passed out in her usual spot, the sofa, atop the remote. I remove it from underneath her and shut off the t.v, stopping the annoying buzzing coming from it.
I check my phone for messages. There never are any, what a surprise.
But today, there is a tiny red light flashing, and I listen to the message...
... I find myself staring, open-mouthed at the wall as a female voice plays through the system. I'm stunned for a moment, that is my first reaction. But I am not frozen for long. Before I even have time to think, i'm at the kitchen counter, tugging open a drawer, and removing the sharpest, longest knife I could fine. It gleams from the kitchen light, and I see my worried expression in it.
My mask momentarily wears off, and yes, in the knife, I can see, who I am. And the eyes that stare back up at me are no longer that of a stranger. They glow with a burning rage, with the fear of a coward, with the greif of a widow. But they are mine, even if they are heavily wounded- and my masked eyes stare back into my naked ones.
She is here. But she is silent. She is creeping, and waiting, ready to pounce. She is the devil, disguised cleverly in a young girls body. I love her. She loves me. But if the mask fits, wear it.
And so I am not a male, not a female. But a human. I do not belong anywhere.
She, on the other hand, is not a human.
She is a female.