She hides behind an open door. Like a Monet painting. It pushes you away.
In the morning she races into her day. A rush of smiles and hellos. The friend of everyone. The friend no one knows. People think they like her. She speaks to this person. Shares a laugh with another. Always a friendly tone. Always a friendly smile. If you sit down and talk. She’ll talk about the weather. Or she’ll talk about you.
But she won’t talk about herself. Ask her the most direct question and you’ll get the more direct answer. And a broad question will just be dodged. Are you from California? Yes. Where have you lived? Around.
You think you know her because she knows you. She listens to your problems. Gives an understand ear and a kind word. Then she shares a joke. Jokes are the smoke screen of her life. Like everyone she has problems. But no one knows her secrets. No one.
What about the social network profile. A see of information. So many data points a super-computer would be lost. The most superficial facts shine like the sun. And the real details get lost like the other stars. There is no night. Not in her world. Because at night you would see the truth. The fears. The darkness in her soul.
In a world full of people. In a life full of connections. She lives alone. In her own cell.
She isn’t the one writing this, she would never. And I write without a name. Who am I to tell you these things. Can you trust me as a source? But I protect myself from her awareness. Her anger.
What drives her most is fear. It pushes her to be everything – to all people – everywhere. People must love her. They must want her. They must need her. So she won’t be alone. Rejected again in her desert. Like a demon. She has felt the world’s cold shoulder too often.
At night she has herself. During the day she creates friendships which aren’t real. The smile and short exchanges are enough. In fact they are almost too much. She doesn’t know more than small talk. Because small talk bonds enough to pretend. But not enough to share. There isn’t anything she wants to share. Not a single truth about her life.
One truth leads to another. And another. Somewhere down the line the Truth could see the light. All truth must be hidden. Because who knows which one is the Truth. Or could suggest the Truth is out there, or in there. Hiding.
You can talk to her. And joke with her. Even insult her. But never ignore her. And most important of all never touch her. The body is where she lives. She doesn’t like to be disturbed. Why are you touching me? I can touch myself.
She knows truth is like water. Or like light. It finds its way where it wants to go. There is a fear she can’t keep secrets forever. But she must try and try and try. If she must let something out, she will. But the stress and regret are instant. And a growing feeling of relief as no one cares to notice. Because people think they know her, they are easy to fool. They are easy to mislead. No, she is not a liar.
Lies are just another form of truth in disguise. The truth is a better mask than any lie. You can mislead with information more than anything else. Give people too little or too much. But whatever you do, don’t make it clear. Do not put it in context. And never make it about her. Leave her alone.
You know her name, but I can’t speak it here. Because then she will come. All this will be lost. This moment we have had together will be lost. Whatever we may know about each other now will be lost. Even thinking about her name now. I feel her shadow behind me.
(A Room to Write Exercise)