VIGNETTE: Wooden Hearts
"I never lied to you," she wept.
He took the long frown that was plastered on her face to be an attempt to convey the nakedness of her feelings. He took the crooked lips, the prominent cheek furrows, and the pouted lower lip to be an evident display of both her guilt and her sadness. He stared at her eyes, brown and dull from the long time she had held them low and stared unfocused on the ground a few feet away, and found himself drawn to the tiny icicle droplets that would fall as tears when she shook just a bit too much.
He closed the door leading to his heart, turned the lock and snapped it shut, then drew out the key and slid it into the small pocket on his jeans. He walked up to her, not a single word escaping from his lips as he did so, and then paused for one last time; one last chance to hear from her admit the truth of the matter. Perhaps, just perhaps if she were then to admit such things... perhaps then he would find it in himself to actually forgive her. And be willing to start over.
"I never..." she began and for him it was enough.
He reached out towards her and clamped both hands down on the sides of her down-turned head. He pushed his thumbs against her temple, finding a secure grasp on each side, then dug his fingers into the small gaps that existed between her face and her head. They were there, he knew. The miniscule inconsistencies to her claims and half-truths that made the mask of innocence that she wore loose enough to be noticed for what it was. He tensed. Then twisted his hands in a rough clockwise motion while pulling away from her.
The mask ripped out with a rich papery tear.
"No!" she gasped, feeling the parchment face that she had painted on earlier fall apart. She dropped to her knees, clamping both hands to cover her now naked head.
He was not finished. Grabbing the torn mask with both hands, he then twisted his grip in each hand and pulled in opposite directions, tearing it once again into halves. Again and again, he tore at the insulting visage and allowed the broken shards of false emotion to scatter to the ground.
"Don't ever lie to me again," he told her and let the last bits of plaster and glued paper fall from his palms. He never even looked at her as he began to walk away. "Don't. Its quite too obvious when you're just putting up a face, sweetheart. Its quite obvious when a mannequin lies."
Andre Mischa Cleofe
Cathy delos Santos