Chapter 3 – The freedom of lost dignity

Most of the time, I deliberately play a role. It is not necessarily always the same one and not necessarily distinguishable from what I “truly am”. Not at all distinguishable, in my opinion. All my masks are just as well part of who I am, they make me who I am. I just choose to shape them to my will. I direct people’s perception of me towards parts I think they like, or find interesting. Not even the most perfect parts. Small quirks, little imperfections can be just as loveable. Sometimes the masks develop a life of their own, influencing decisions I make to fit the image people have of me. To be honest with myself, I think I do it towards everyone, even my family. But who doesn’t? Maybe I am just more aware of it, taking more active control over these things. In the end, everyone just strives to be liked.

I think the Knight sees through most, maybe all of my optimized reflections, my tactical pretensions and my calculations as to how I can be the most entertaining company. He often playfully calls me a manipulative bitch. Takes one to know one.

There are people towards whom I am more relaxed in keeping up a shiny facade. People who I tell about the roles I play, and why I play them, though telling them can be part of another role. People, not necessarily the same ones, who are allowed to see me without makeup, in loose-fitting clothes, my hair in a mess.

The girl I let the Witcher see was always eager to be seen from her best side, would wear casual clothing only if it still complimented my figure, would never be seen without makeup until immediately before bedtime. She was strong-minded (however often unable to define what exactly she wanted to be strong-minded about), confident, defiant, emotional, overly dramatic, unreasoning, enthusiastic and would only see a doctor if her life was already dangling on a string, though the last aspect only emerged from being defiant an him telling me to see a doctor for every tiny scratch. I ended up just not telling him when I had a doctors appointment. 


Well, at least until I busted my role by being a disgusting, sick, helpless wreck.
Many of the things I were for him were truly part of myself, though often exaggeratedly so whenever I had the impression that they would fit the situation. But others were just impossibilities. Like always looking one’s best.

Often I can’t help playing a role, but at least I can let the people closest to me know what I am up to.
On that day, I finally decided to let the Witcher be part of this inner circle of trust.

I also decided that the time for perfect physical appearances was over. I define “family” as “people who are allowed to see me without makeup”. Well, now he was family. I still had to get used to it though. I felt worse than naked when he knelt down beside the comfy chair I had settled into once I was strong enough to stand up, looking into my unadorned face.
“I will never make a fuss again about you seeing me without makeup.”
Both of us laughed and he hugged me. Two silent minutes later he started laughing again for no apparent reason.
“What is it?”
“I just though of how I sorted parts of food out of your hair yesterday when you were sick in the metro.”
“Oh god!”

I spent the day in the comfy chair, watching him play Dark Souls 2. He wanted me to eat and drink something and I said the only things I could possible get down were coke and pretzel sticks, so he went to buy some for me. In the evening we watched some movies and he was sitting on the floor beside me, resting his head on my lap while I stroked his hair.
It was a great day. The first one we had just to ourselves, with me being too weak even for home office work and him having taken the day off. Now that I think about it, with my busy life, we never since have had so much time to spend just with each other. We would experience more memorable hours together in the future, but never again a time so relaxed. Just like back in school, sometimes the sick days are the only true repose one can get.

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