Writing inspired by the SWC creative writing prompt: The Masks We Wear.
The Masks We Wear
By Georgia Holmer
“I can’t breathe.”
Her muffled voice came through the small and inadequate hole between the pink lips.
“Can you see?”
It was a pliable plastic mask, shaped to resemble a famous female politician, more notorious than revered. She’d insisted on ordering it online as part of her costume. She wanted to make a statement, she said. Over her jeans and t-shirt she was wearing a conservatively boxy suit jacket with shoulder pads. Her hair was gelled, molded and sprayed into a high bun at the back of her head, and she had on a pair of large faux pearl earrings. Without the mask, he thought she looked quite appealing. A throwback to the women from that Robert Palmer video or one of the working girl movies from the 1980s in which women’s confidence and initiative were heightened by an illusion of broad shoulders and big hair. She pulled off the mask and exhaled loudly.
“I wish you’d ordered a companion costume,” she said.
He looked down at his furry gloves and then over at the polyester gorilla head lying on the bed like the spoils of a hunt.
“I’m always a gorilla. That’s what people expect.”
“You could try to be something else.”
“Gorilla suits me.”
She smiled tightly. “You could expand your repertoire a bit. Experiment. Try something new.”
He looked at her, noting the seriousness of her expression. “Is this about the costume party?”
She turned to the mirror and busied herself with her hair although there was little to do given how heavily shellacked it was.
Their eyes met in the mirror and held for a moment. Then she reached over for the mask and put it back on.
Sunday Writers' Club member
Georgia Holmer is an artist and writer, whose creative practice draws from her two decades working in international peace and security. She is the author of two full length plays and is currently working on a memoir. Based in Vienna, she is passionate about the transformative power of creative expression.