Why Pretend?

Why Pretend?

I don’t wear pants because my legs get hot during the day, and I don’t need to shave my legs anymore because I’m an old woman. So I wear short sweatshirt-material house dresses. They always have them in stock at Penney’s, or at least, they have for the last 20 years. This is a style that never goes out of style, probably because me and your grandmother and your spinster aunt all wear them around the house and out to the mailbox and to take the trash to the curb.

Why pretend that I have dark hair anymore? My salt-and-pepper has taken over. When I was younger I used to get it dyed “to tame the grey” that was so wiry when it first came in, now I just let it go. I let the hairdresser lob it off. It’s about the only time I feel pretty, is when I come home from the salon. Sure, I’ll try on some nail polish at the druggists, and I’ll purchase a new lipstick about once a month, but it’s always in the same shade of nearly-nude pink because I’m too shy to really go for the red I want, and it would wipe all over my face anyway.

Why pretend that I care about anything other than looking out the window and watching the world slowly bloom, flower, open, breathe, and then fade again? Sure, the sun rises and sets, and the days get longer and shorter according to the seasons, but I don’t really care about all that. I want to watch the leaves grow and change, watch the bushes push their little buds out into the open air, brave against the late spring snow, and force their spring green way into the world. Anyone who crosses my view while watching this happens is just a distraction that I’d rather be rid of. The only creatures I’m acknowledging today are the robins hopping around the backyard, trying to pull those gigantic earthworms from the soil, and the red-capped woodpeckers.

Why pretend that people interest me anymore? They don’t. Their emotions don’t make sense. There are so many emotions, so many feelings. I don’t want to deal with all the feelings they push upon me, or all the plans they want to talk to me about. Don’t tell me to smile, don’t ask me how my day is going. You don’t really care. Don’t pretend anymore. I’m not pretending. This scowl isn’t my mask, it is my face. I brought my face to the world, just like the poppies opening in my garden, and I’ll let you see it, but you may not want to.
Every garden has its grubs and slugs. The lightning bugs wouldn’t survive without the slugs, and the slugs are eating your pretty red strawberries. They’re just slugging all over them, slimy green trails behind them. Don’t you know that the garden is full of those nasty things? You can’t stay away from them. Just like you can’t hide from the nastiest parts of yourself. Look in the mirror, just like that slug will look into the bowl of beer right before it dives in. It feels so good, it smells so good, and mmm, it’s going to be great to go for a swim in that nasty beery ick.


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