The Mask

Behind a closed wooden door, lies a mysterious dark room, where sealed cardboard boxes are piled as high as the ceiling…boxes that contain memorabilia including pictures, video cassettes, yearbooks, and stuffed animals that are long forgotten. In the center of this dark, dingy, cold room sits a table covered in a smooth, red silk cloth that smells of cobwebs and dust. On that table sits a small, yellowing porcelain mask. Not one person in the family who lived above knew what the mask for or who it belongs to, but they did recognize that it possessed a dark secret no living person knew.

The yellowing mask, that only covered half of one’s face, was cast for a man with high cheekbones and a serious brow. The air that surrounded it was sad and full of loneliness. An aura of secrets and darkness moved around the table silently and light from the crack under the door gave the mask an eery glow.

A young child gathered enough courage to enter the dark, dusty room and is mesmerized by the mystery of the mask sitting alone on the table. Many unanswered questions flooded her mind. Why does the mask cover only half of a face? Where did it come from? Who was the one trying to hide behind it?

Her mother didn’t know. Her father didn’t know. It was merely given to them by the past generations, with a promise that the mask will make sense in the distant future. Yet the child never asks, so no questions were ever uttered aloud. No questions were answered.

The mask rested on the red tablecloth, untouched, unmoved, unharmed. The child created an impossible fantasy that if touched, the mask would unleash a phantom that will take her on a grand journey into herself and reveal the part of her soul that she most repressed and feared.

Time moved on, the mask was forgotten. The child grew older, yet the mask remained unchanged. The stories of her fantasies that began with, “Once upon a time, there was a mask…” faded into the shadows of her past.

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