I used to look up to the stars with a quiet mind and a quiet heart, thinking but not thinking; wondering but not wondering. It’d always amaze me how quickly the stars moved if I tracked them against something close by, like the tree outside that partially blocked my view. Without the tree as a reference, though, it was impossible to see how the stars moved. Which was good when you just wanted to get lost in time and space.
There was once I tracked a group of stars all the way across the sky, from the moment they appeared behind a neighbour’s house to the moment they got lost in the brightening sky. I hadn’t realised it, but I’d been wondering and wandering for what must have been half a day.
It’s funny how life feels so different; how life can appear so different.
Depending on whether it’s The Public Face; The Private Face; or The Face that Nobody Sees but Ourselves.
This latter face nobody understands. Even those closest to us, who understand us in ways the outside world never would, never would. Only we would understand.
But even then, that’s not always true.
Sitting on the swing, relaxing after a heavy dinner,
Looking at stars I used to know more intimately,
I reminisced about times that seemed so recent but
Were (five, six, seven… no) fourteen years ago —
Half a lifetime away.
I used to watch the stars as they crawled across
The sky on restless nights before I slept, and awaken
To find their journey only halfway through. I’d nudge them
With my finger for a bit, pushing them on, before
Getting ready for school.
I remember imagining that I was on one of those
Stars, looking into the sky and spotting Earth.
It was my way of meeting peace — from this perspective
Pain didn’t hurt. A knife through the heart would’ve made
A dent as deep as a whisper.
I came across a beautiful poem by Shel Silverstein called “Masks”, that reminded me of how we can sometimes go through our whole lives pretending to be someone else, hoping to find like-minded souls but afraid to reveal our true selves.
She had blue skin,
And so did he.
He kept it hid
And so did she.
They searched for blue
Their whole life through.
Then passed right by–
And never knew.
I find the poem beautiful because of how it reflects a painful truth of my life, that so much of what I say and do is part of a show put up to others because that’s what I think should be, not what it really is.
I was feeling down so I went to the shops
And got myself a radio.
It was on sale.
I brought it home and turned it on.
It made me happy.
My mind was busy with its mindless chatter.
Then she spoke to me,
And I turned to her to speak.
No words came out.
–Then they did.
–But it wasn’t me.
The radio spoke in my voice
In harsh, unfeeling words.
But words I didn’t mean.
And words I couldn’t stop.
She was hurt.
This, was a problem.
But it wasn’t me.
It wasn’t me.