Magritte’s veiled lovers had graced her walls for quite some time now. They took her back to the time when they believed in nakedness and transparence; when they sought mates who could peel each layer away and display admiration and awe at each revelation.

They believed in mysteries back then, and surprises. They hoped for secret gardens and wondrous treasures around every hidden corner. Their fevered brains found lush oases and sparkling streams in believable mirages.

Hopes were never dashed and surprises could never be unpleasant and so they sought surprises; they lifted up a rock here and peeked behind some fronds there, they heard a bird chirping and held butterflies in their palms.

That didn’t last too long.

The world sought warriors, they soon realized, not lovers or dreamers, and warriors needed camouflage.

It wasn’t difficult to learn how to hide, concealment came easy and made for better first impressions, they learnt. They found masquerades alluring and not for the mystery anymore, nor the thrill of discovering what lay beyond.

They veiled themselves away. They didn’t want to look into each other’s eyes, to spot the beast that lurked within. They hid behind fake laughter and feigned concern, their smiles never reaching their eyes and their hearts never touching. They loved being masked lovers, loved the artful mastery of disguise. They loved the colors of their veils and they loved who they appeared to be. They knew deep down that they were equally adept at concealment.

The lovers grace her walls now as a reminder that veils need to stay in place that they must do what they can, to keep them secure, to keep them in place.

She has seen them slip and she has been unnerved by the ugliness revealed.

She has been confounded by emergent contempt and has reeled from resentments unleashed.

Most of all, she has ruminated about the incipient desire to run and hide and to seek enormous distances from the rent and vanishing veils and the starkness of naked selves.

1 Comment

  1. I've read this again and again. It makes me feel sad, wistful, sorry that we have to grow up by learning to camouflage. You always write well. But in this short story, every word is chosen with care, and is completely in place.

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