The Actress

By Lómiel

Dedicated to all those who hide behind a smile

If you were to ask her, she would say it wasn't true. With wide, innocent, laughing eyes she would say no, not me, I can't act, how silly of you. And then she would make some joke, maybe not horribly clever, but enough to make you chuckle. And you would laugh with her, and drop the idea as some fool nonsense, convinced by those eyes that laughed back at you in their depths.

For what you see is not reality. You know, because you, too, are a player in your own drama, even if you don't see it. She knows. She understands the power of a word or a tone—the power to make meaningless words seem meaningful, the power to turn away prying eyes, the power to not lie and not be honest simultaneously. It is a talent, a great and dangerous talent. She knows that, too. She knows that even if you don't believe it, she can make you think that you do.

But you would be wrong. You would have fallen prey to the greatest act ever, and you would believe. Because it is easier to believe and not question.

It is easier to accept the laughter, the flippant ignorance, than to dig into the farther reaches. It is easier to believe a lie than to search—to see the sadness and loneliness in her eyes when she thinks no one's watching, to notice how she wanders away when the conversation turns away from what she knows. If you took the time to care, you would see through the act to the soul beyond, hiding behind laughter and giggles and innocence.

She loves to laugh, she loves her schoolwork. When she isn't sure of the answer, she pretends to not know at all. She lets you form your own conclusions; she smiles inside as you think to yourself that she is weak, or naïve, or stupid. She smirks as you fall witlessly into the plot she has set for you. She determines what you see and hear of her: the grins, the puppy-sad eyes, the innocent surprise, the glowering frowns, the tremulous, powerful, angry, petulant, mocking, compassionate, teasing voice. She gives you what you want to see, what you expect to see.

She is a master of her craft.

She is a star on a stage, every moment a glowing testament to her gift. Her costume changes, her face changes, but for all her camouflage, in the end she can't pretend away the tears, the hurt, the blackness that remains when the curtain goes down. And when she is alone, with no one to understand her or her pain, she will have no one to blame but herself. Herself, her small story, and her incredible acting—an act that became more real than reality.

Her gift and her curse.

No flaws when you're pretending…
Without the mask, where will you hide?
Can't find yourself, lost in your lies…