Dec 2, 2010

Seeing something different

After a few days, Grace’s ankle had improved, so Nicholas decided he would try to retrieve the RV.

“You’re going alone?” said Grace.

“I would like you to stay off your ankle as much as you can,” said Nicholas.

“What if something happens to you?” she said, “Those people could still be out there.”

He tried to reassure her. He would be careful, and it wouldn’t take long, but his words did little to diminish the worry on her face.

After taking off his mask, she kissed him, gently and lingering, and said, “I don’t want to lose you,” she said.

She was always taking his mask off, whenever they were alone. He would put it back on and within minutes she would take it back off again.

The habit of wearing it remained, even though they were usually alone  now.

When he worked at the sideshow, his manager spoke of his mask as ‘not giving it away for free.” The real reason Nicholas wore the mask was that his face unsettled most people.

They would stammer, and their face would go pale while they tried to hide their discomfort.

It was slightly better with the mask. Long sleeves and long pants softened the sharp angles of his unnaturally bony arms and legs. An extra layer of clothing obscured the hollow of his stomach.

People were always trying to feed him, as if he were starving, and he hated eating in front of people.

His mouth was misshapen in such a way that it was easy to drool if he wasn’t careful, especially when he was eating.

With Grace, he could forget that he wasn’t normal. He didn’t know how what she saw was so different from everyone else.

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