Listen


–and then what story is there to tell?

the old man looked at his gnarly old hands and you could see the sadness, in his face. the time of loneliness, of self-doubt and suffering etched into lines folding into each other, criss-crossing, textured.

–i’ve lived with myself so long i don’t know how to begin.

i thought of skin, of the truth and lies of skin. how we bear our selves in our lives, traced through our skin. how we wear our masks, our identities. our emotions. we watch movie actors for their faces, for their balance, their poise under the barrel of the camera gaze. i watch the old man.

–it seems sometimes all i’ve learned in life is how to prepare for the
end.

but how will i hold up to this scrutiny myself? i can’t look at the old man without relating him to myself, without feeling his animal presence, however faint. we are not made for cameras. we are not made for narratives smaller than the scope of life and death. we don’t fit into romances, we don’t fit into plots, into schemes, we slip out of our tethers and find ourselves speaking words we don’t understand. there is a something that moves
through us, past us. we find ourselves drawn to the edge, drawn to the darkness, drawn to something beyond ourselves.

–and then what story is there to tell?

the old man smiles at me, and as i meet his eyes he seems momentarily full of secret life and vigor, a hidden irony creeping into the crinkles of his eyes. and i seem to share the joke, whatever it is, for i find myself understanding something, and smiling back.

–the truth.

the old man says. he looks into the fire.

–the truth seems to lie in the silence.

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Author: manderson

I live in NYC.

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