Text 6 (July 28th) – The title is THE MASK. What you write is up to you. A haiku, a novel, or anything inbetween.
Very few have seen me
I wear one all the time
It occasionally loosens
when I drink red wine
people cannot hurt me
when they don’t know how I feel
or that I’ve been wounded
if I refuse to kneel
Sun shines on their face
For fear of catching Covid
They hide behind masks
Alive at night time.
Make-up veils her secret self.
The girl is a man.
Not needed they said.
Grandma died. A silent Spring.
Muffled now, by Law.
We all wear a mask everyday. We walk out of the door and the mask slips on like a thief in the night. We don’t know we have donned it, but we have. We all have masks we display to friends and neighbours only our families see us naked and raw. Being vulnerable is not something we feel easy about and is not to be revealed to everyone.
Here is an example.
Two friends meet in the street one says to the other “Hello there I haven’t seen you for ages, how are you and the family?” The other says “We are doing great, how about you?” “We are doing fine too. Nice to see you looking well.” “Thanks.” says the other. As soon as they are out of earshot of each other each one say under their breath “Pillock”.
Conspiracy Theory 4: Masks of God
I stand in the British Museum, empty and echoing with respect for Coronavirus, ugly plastic markings despoiling the marble grandeur of the building. In front of me is a weathered stone statue of Dana, the sign says, Celtic goddess of nature. The statue has been flattened and smoothed by time and looks like she’s weeping. Appropriate in the current climate I would say.
She weeps as industry and finance has infected state after state, country after county with a plague of greed. She sees the dirty streets and litter strewn over the world. She sighs at crammed motorways, jammed junctions and endless queues. She groans at crowded streets, heaving airports and chronic shopping addiction. If I were goddess of nature, I would be very cross indeed.
The Museum is a place of ancient treasures and long forgotten things. There is power in these artefacts, they were holy, powerful things and the echoes of their power remain. Do the deities still care? As I look at the gentle stone figure shadows of the former masters move. Dana has strength still.
Maybe she teamed up with Zeus, Jesus, Buda and Mohamed and they called a committee meeting. This would be hard, because everyone has disparate job descriptions, they live in far flung paradises and don’t really like each other. Apollo might call the meeting, arranging it and rearranging it again and again to suit everybody. Mercury would distribute agendas and then redistributed them when all the deities lost the paperwork the day before. Allah would chair the meeting and Hermes keep minutes
So we get the Gods of the ancient world sitting around an epic stone table on huge chairs of elysian marble and discussing the sorry state of mankind. Imagine that!
“Global warming, over population, Brexit, starving children and dispossessed people, jihad and xenophobia.” Gentle Dana said in despair. The gods of the world would have different views. Of course, they would, they come from different cultures but their power and their ambition for mankind it not dissimilar at all. What would they do? I am pretty ashamed of us, to be honest, and I can imagine that most of us would be sitting on the naughty step of heaven right now, with our selfishness and our energy hungry appetites for wealth and luxury.
Maybe they considered holding another war. From a deity point of view, previous attempt, a century earlier, was quite effective, crushing the exuberance of mankind. But Jesus would point out that the follow up, in 1940, hijacked by the Americans didn’t go well and ended up with a big bang. But no, infinitely forgiving they give endless chances, not the end of the world just a light smack on the wrist to mankind, Covid-19.
Perhaps it’s time to review the mask of the Gods and think about what we are doing to the world. There is wisdom and strength in faith even if faith is lost and gods are banished.
Sifting sand trickles slow through a timer, compared to the speed with which I uncovered the mask of love, devotion and wreckage. One voice mail message was all it took. Oddly, on my birthday 1st April.
“Mrs Sinclair? My name is Doctor Hugo Walters, St Martins Hosital, California. Your husband is currently with us, I need you to return my call urgently.”
Only I am no longer Mrs Sinclair? Is this some sicko’s idea of April fool?
There were no survivors, Boeing 747 flight HK 8976, disappeared off radar, news channels relentless reporting dashed any fragment of hope. Kissing Peter on the marbled concourse, him turning to wave before entering airside, would be our last.
Boeing were exceptionally kind, of course, supporting bereaved families. It took years for legal wrangling to release confirmation of Death. Brutal words ‘passenger on HK 8976’ snatched chunks from my heart and soul. Time only helps, it doesn’t heal. Memory of Peter’s smiling face appeared in sharp focus. Wading through treacle had been my way of life since the crash. Divorcing myself from life’s landscape. Still wedded to Peter.
Black ink on white paper shouted … you must. I cannot return.
I became Mrs Anthony Blackstock only last year. Friends tricked us into a blind date. His wife Isabella died some years earlier. Together, our futures looked brighter.
Ringing tone answered, “Dr Walters, I am returning your call from London, I think there must be an error? My ex husband Peter perished in the Boeing air crash. I have since re-married.”
“Mrs Sinclair, I need to explain, please listen carefully, there may be legal implications.”
The hospital was a ruse, sorry to say. Allow me to introduce myself. Detective. Hugo Walters FBI. Investigating cold case review from the fatal flight. Mr Peter Sinclair was indeed listed on the manifest, however, we believe he did not travel, never boarded. As you will appreciate this is a very complex investigation. Information leads us to think he boarded another flight, later that same day, to New York. He travelled using a passport in the name of Peter Albert Charnwood … Mrs Sinclair? … Mrs Sinclair?
Tells all. Charnwood, my maiden name, deceived by his mask.