Masque

The floor is polished, smooth and bouncing the lights like glittering stars across a sky under the feet of dancers around you. You, like them, are cloaked in a veil of feathers, fabrics, colors…lots of colors. There isn't a part of you that hasn't been captivated by the mysticism of the dance floor. Sequins and beads trail from the mantle that sweeps the back of your heels as you move and the ruffles and laces accentuate the way you glide along the path of this dance.

Your hands are lithe and elegant, but strong and warm. The other hand fits among your fingers that curl and draw it closer to you. There's not a part of you that that can be distinguished. Not a physical detail can be traced back to you, but you are undeniably you.

"Are you distracted?" You ask, your voice wavers a bit, but breaks through the noises surrounding you. It sounds alien from your tongue, to speak for the sake of attention. That's not like you at all. You've always been the quiet one, sulking in the shadows. But tonight, with the splashes of colored light enveloping you, you are someone different. With the mask that covers your face, you can look to your companion without fear of judgment. What would your companion say?

"I.." The companion pauses in his step. His white hair shines against the rest of his elaborate attire. Though his face is masked, you know who you are holding and you made it this way intentionally. Unlike the complicated embroidery of your own robes, his is simple yet retains an indescribable depth. His costume is like his personality, you think. He's not who he is on the surface and the real face is just beneath the mask. The real costume is the one he's showing underneath the porcelain mask. To you, he needs no dressing for this dance. He is just wearing a mask over another.

Perhaps this is why he has enamored you. Perhaps this is why you have chosen to hide yourself as well; to step forward before him. His feet follow yours and your bodies are close—moving together in the way you wanted.

You haven't even noticed that his response has failed. His teeth have crushed the sound with his tongue between them. There's a tension in the smaller body, but it's racing and joyous. He is enjoying this experience as you are. Somewhere in your mind, you wonder if you're jealous.

It's stupid and you hate it. It agitates you like nothing else, to think that you would have envy over a faceless stranger—and even more so that you are the stranger you would otherwise envy. But he doesn't know. He has no idea that you are who you are. No one does. In this place, in this dance, everyone is anyone and the mask of anonymity comes as a double edged sword.

Would you have the nerve to take your mask off for this person? Probably not. He's under the impression you harbor a hatred that won't be changed. It's not hatred though. It's something that can't be put into words by you. Words were never your forte anyway, but this is far beyond the complication of a simple dialogue. This is curiosity and understanding that digs deeper. Darkness that looms between you, you feel is something that many cannot comprehend.

This is why your hand is snaking around his body, keeping him at your pace. For a moment, you don't have to be you and you can admit that you need companionship in whatever way it comes easiest. If behind a mask is that method, you're going to use it while it's there.

"Are you distracted?" The companion speaks and you almost don't hear it. It takes a moment for your response to come and you refuse to lose the will to release the words like your companion has before.

"Yes," you answer and you're honest. This honesty is rewarded with the smaller hands trailing your neck and nearly cradling your head in a passionate loveresque way. It leaves a feeling you don't know how to properly experience this. Should you be feeling that warmth? You don't know, but it's there. It's there and trickling through your skin into the heart you always pretend you don't have.

"I am too," he admits, but he didn't have to. It's obvious. The younger person's fingers claw at the tips of your bound hair—where you've meticulously tied it to look shorter than it really is. He's pulling your hair and loosening the band and a part of you knows you should be worried, but you're not. Somehow, at the tip of his fingers there is a calming confirmation that you're not sure you wanted or not.

But it's there. Just as you know him and you know yourself beneath the masks and sequins, he knows who he is holding. He can feel the familiarity of your body, because he's thinking your thoughts just the same. The two of you are living in circles, where you keep missing each other by such small margins. Whether it is your circumstances or your pride, you and he are unreachable without that falseness.

It takes masks to bring you to this waltz. It takes hiding to make you come together and share the companionship you both need. As the strands of your silky black hair trickle down, you realize he's already named you and claimed you in the same you you've done him.

"Thank you for this dance," you mutter close to his ear, voice sturdy and brimming with the connotations you devoid yourself from usually—choosing monotony for the sake of simplicity.

"It doesn't have to be the last," he whispers back, his face breaching the feathers and beads and finding warmth in your neck. "A dance doesn't end once it starts."

"Next time, then, I'll meet you without the mask."

"I never saw the mask to behind with." He says as simply as the dance that took their feet across the glittering marble.

End


A/N: This was written as practice for Second Person. I really love this POV and I plan to write in it more. What do you guys think?