The eye is a false mirror. The ear is an unfaithful receiver of sound. The lips when moved in speech don't always utter the words you intended to speak. All senses can lie. To you, their attentive host.
facial expressions don't always match what I feel, think or say.
Sometimes they give my unvocalised thoughts and feelings away;
sometimes they add depth to what I say so no convoluted explanation
is needed. Often, they help. Often, they cause confusion and give a
false reading. I have no idea what face I'm pulling and it's not
polite to stare into another's eyes just to see yourself reflected
back. That boundary can only be crossed if you share a close bond. I,
myself, have never reached that intimate level or felt comfortable
enough to cross it. Frightened, I guess, of what might be revealed.
into my eyes. No, I say. I will look away time after time. Angle my
body in a certain way to deflect that intrusive gaze. Consciously
lower my lids.
it that I run from? Purposely avoid? What I'll see or what the person
staring into me will learn?
certainly the latter, but nor would I want to intrude. Sneak in like
a robber, force a window to gain access to somebody else's personal
property. Even when it's consensual I find it difficult. I almost
immediately break it, assert that the moment has passed. Time's up, a
brisk wind has slammed the window shut! You'll have to be quicker
slipping in, asked or unasked, is for me a violation. I equate it to
taking a photograph: some part of you is captured, forever contained
in that black and white or full colour image. A trace of you always
remains in the developed picture, whereas the eye, unguarded, gives
too many people ready admittance to a deeper part of you where words,
gestures or expressions are unneeded. A part of you that should be,
in my view, held sacred, and not shared with any public figure. Such
lax distribution splinters your soul. And a splintered soul can be
extremely hard to piece back together. Too many connections made, too
many links to be cut, too many fragments floating somewhere out there
like dust motes. The particles too small, the distance too vast.
resolute in my approach to this matter: unbending, defending,
distrustful. I should relax a little, find a middle ground and not
draw the black-out down quite so much. But when it's become
hard-wired (in habit and in character) it's not so straightforward to
undo. Frankly, who would have the patience to try?
is a deceiver, a false mirror, as I said at the beginning. There's
nothing to see here. There are no mysteries to unravel. No answers to
universal questions. Yet because I use my eye as a shield people
invariably think under these half-closed lids there are. There's
always more to a person than you imagine, but the realities and
truths unconcealed are disappointing because you've already assumed
something other about their personality or way of life; then the real
test comes. Do you persist with the optical illusion or attempt to
plunge under the lens into the pupil's liquid depths? Or do you just
simply forget, move on?
reserved person requires persistent efforts. The workings of their
mind can frequently be seen ticking over, yet still they hold back.
Suppress how they'd sometimes like to behave because their privacy
means more to them than your average person, especially if they deem
their life is uninteresting or don't consider anything they do to
have value. They don't offer because there's nothing they feel of any
note, and yet every chance encounter with someone of that vein is
different. Exciting because they conceal so much and give away
little; the occasional crumb when it unexpectedly comes opens up a
whole new vista. I never knew that
about you. How could I not know that?
people new to this dance realise late that this dropped crumb is only
one of a series of looking-glasses in an immense Hall of Mirrors.
As printed in Shadowplay: Memoirs of Light and Shade. For further details, visit my I Live to Read page.
Picture Credit: The False Mirror, Rene Magritte