The Smile Behind The Mask

This morning, whilst out for my run, I noticed an elderly woman sat alone in a bus shelter, waiting for a bus (I guess!).

She caught my eye and she smiled at me. I reacted with a broad smile, called out hello and waved my hand above my head.

Fortunately, my running pace is quite moderate, so I had time to see her face light up and smile at me from behind her mask. My reaction had thrilled her, and I could see that it had caused her a moment of joy at the unexpected warmth of our momentary connection.

As I ran on, I reflected on our little encounter. It touched my heart and I wondered why. I think her smile behind the mask, which I could not see, was obvious to me in her bright shining eyes. It was a magical moment, a moment of joy, a moment of respect, a moment of connection.

The physical mask which we are all currently wearing will hopefully become an unnecessary appendage very soon, but the mask I wear has the feel and appearance of permanence about it in my life thus far.

I wear a mask every day of my life to suppresses my truth, to suppress my capacity to convey myself in the world with honesty about the reality of my gay sexuality.

When the masks come off, we will once again see the smile around the mouth and cheeks and its impact will be restored to a full expression of the joy this facial response to happiness conveys.

The mask I wear slips only with the few people who know the truth of the dilemma I experience in my life each day.

For those, who see behind the mask I wear, I owe the deepest gratitude, the type of gratitude which conveys the joy which the little elderly lady conveyed to me in her smile, because in the connection between us, we were united in truth.

William Defoe

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