Another night, another dream I wish I didn’t have. Another dream I’d had a thousand nights, in a thousand different ways. Bobby and Julie were holding hands, walking through the museum. I don’t know where it was, or what museum, only that it was a museum.
“Really weird art show, isn’t it?” Bobby waved his free hand at the paintings along the wall.
“Yep. Weird.” Julia kept pulling him from one painting, or one sculpture to another. Endlessly.
It took a while, but somewhere along the way, amid all the paintings, and statues, and abstract displays of spheres floating through rectangles inside of snow storms, and all the rest, they came across a statue not like the rest.
Julia tapped Bobby on the shoulder, “Dude, look at that one.”
“Wow.” They approached the display slowly. “Guy looks just like him, doesn’t it.”
“Yep. Just like him.” Julia drug Bobby around the display of a statue that looked strikingly like me. Why it was there, I don’t know. Why anyone would make a statue of me, I don’t know.
“Look at that.” From the front, it looked like me, but, as they moved to either side of it, the statue turned into an empty mold, with ragged edges along the back, and nothing inside it. “It’s like a shell. A prop.” They read the description of the artwork displayed on a stand next to it.
“The Facade. An illustration of what the world perceives us to be, and the reality that what the world sees is not real at all, rather it is only an image. A mask. A facade.”
Julia shook her head, “Looks just like him, doesn’t it.”
For some strange reason, I always woke up when the dream reached that part. Damn thing drove me nuts for decades, until I figured it out one day, at work. I wish I could forget that day, but know I never will. That was the day I told her, at work, the truth.
“It’s all a game, you know.”
“No. This is not a game. This is real life.” I remember the light in her eyes. There had been flashes of fear, and of concern in that light. As if I was speaking of a secret no one dared speak of.
“It’s got a set of rules. A specific behavior to follow. Ways to make bonus points. Ways to get penalized.” I’d made a point to look straight into those eyes, even knowing how dangerous it was for me to do that, knowing those eyes tore my own facade down, and left me standing there, unprotected, revealed, in broad daylight. “It’s a game. One everyone plays.”
That statue in that dream, that facade. That had been me. That had been what the world saw of me. Something artificial. A character in a story, an actor playing a part in a game. The things everyone knew about me, the person they all worked with, talked with, every day, wasn’t real.
It wasn’t me.
It was a facade. One I’d made, crafted carefully, over time, to be what I needed to be, in that environment, to make everyone shut up, and leave me alone. So they never got angry with me. Never fought with me. Never learned who I was. So I was always safe from them.
Until I looked in those eyes one day, and that facade started to crumble. Because. I found I could not lie to those eyes.
I wrote this for week 142 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can learn about Miranda’s challenge here. The stories people share for the weekly challenge are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. Please go read them all.