Give him a mask and he will tell you the truth
Paris, main entrance of BHV. A boy around 37, dark eyes, a cowboy stride, is waiting. Not very tall, average, could seem Spanish but he’s English. A girl arrives and smiles at him.
“Hi Tom!” The guy hides a half smile and says quite abruptly “What’s wrong?”. There was nothing wrong but he felt guilty because of his behavior last time they met. They kissed at the beginning of summer and then he disappeared. He was scared and mentally ill. Can someone be scared of passion, love, of becoming free? Many people could be, more than one can expect, not because it’s normal but because many people are sick, so the question could be, why are so many people sick?
Tom was the slave in a bondage relationship and couldn’t believe he liked normal sex again; was he scared to be a man. In September he asked her to see each regularly, she was leaving for London but didn’t consider his proposal because she knew he was mentally ill. Since then, they had became friends.
They went to a restaurant in the Marais that evening, with a cat at the entrance ready to welcome them. A cat is always a good sign. They sat next to the speakers which were playing 90s’ British pop, she loved those songs and he seemed to know them well.
“So, what is going on”, they asked each other, and then ordered a pizza and a salad; the salad was for Tom, always on a diet but without success. She has brought a small black package wrapped up with a pink ribbon. “It’s a present for you, Merry Christmas!”, “Thank you, it’s lovely! Wunderkind by N. Grozni, the French version. I don’t know the book but the translator was my professor at University, what a coincidence, he wanted me to become a writer and not an employee for the European commission.” “Well you can always switch!” He smiled. “I know, but it’s difficult to give up 6 thousands euros per month”. Why must a writer, whose books have saved so many people must be underrated in comparison to a public employee whose work is often useless? Money can kill our dreams. Well, it wasn’t the only reason why, he was also had writer’s block, able to play with words but without meaning. Maybe this is the punishment when you betray inspiration. Sophie used to offer books to her friends as she had fun watching them open them. There were those who smelled the books, the bibliophiles, or opened them with extreme delicacy, those who knew that they are someone else’s soul. Tom took the book restlessly, gave a quick look at the back and the front, turning it upside down, as if he had to fuck it but didn’t know what hole to choose, and then read the cover “Wow, the description of the main character could be me!”.
“Well” he started “Say that your girlfriend gets pregnant, and you don’t want the baby, so you threaten her and oblige her to have an abortion”. Sophie looked at him trying not to show her disapproval. She especially disliked his smile of satisfaction saying those words. Before the summer she had said to him “What if Elsa (his girlfriend) gets pregnant?”, and it happened, and she couldn’t believe it. “I erased every pic of her, that bitch. She said she would have kept the baby in any case, but I obliged her to get rid of it.” Sophie remembered that some months before he had said he loved Elsa and he wanted her child, and this was the same guy speaking. Masks are always beautiful, this is why we often fall in love with them instead of the real person. Sophie liked Tom’s mask. Fucking a girl for more than ten years, telling everyone you’re not in love and obliging her to have an abortion, this was not even editable. Elsa must knew his craziness, she must be crazy herself, very likely. He was tied to Elsa as much as Sophie was tied to Jim, though hers were platonic bonds, while Tom had real ropes that Elsa put around him when she hung his body up to the ceiling, for pleasure. He was a coward, she was his fake mistress, because when a big decision came, he decided over her, he decided over her body. Sophie didn’t know what to think, recently her boyfriend had told her about Titta, Jim’s best friend who had had an abortion exactly at the same time. A girl that Tom knew very well because they were colleagues, but she didn’t say anything, she was faithful to both, her friend and her boyfriend. Jim, Sophie’s boyfriend, was another perverted, violent, who got pleasure in seeing Sophie craving with desire without being satisfied.
“Can I have some of your pizza?” Tom asked, looking insistently at Sophie’s pizza. Sophie distractedly answered: “I’m giving a party in a month, you’re the first to know, why don’t you come Tom? It would be good for you, Titta will also be there.” Unlike Elsa, Titta was the one who decided to have an abortion, while her boyfriend wanted to keep the baby. “I’ll come, I promise, and thank you again for the book. You know I have a “condominium” of voices in my mind, but this time I’ll come”.
One month later.
It was 12 a.m., Jim and Sophie are in bed. “I run for about 2h tonight, I feel proud of myself, such a pleasant new sensation. See you tomorrow at la Pupée des merveilles, 5 pm, ok?”, a message from Tom.
5 pm, Marais. When she arrived Tom went to see Anna Karenina, though Sophie didn’t like tragedies, only happy endings. She was wearing a beautiful black fur coat and a fur hat, he was in his usual leather jacket and cowboy boots inside the shop. “So what will be your mask?” asked Sophie, “Indiana! By the way, help me choose a mask that goes with Indiana’s hat.” He showed her two masks, she chose the most expensive because it was the more beautiful, though she knew he was stingy, but he changed from moment to moment, quite a common behavior among sick people. While he was in line she took some gold confetti-cannons, “So you like magic!?” Tom asked. “Yes, and you? What is your favourite magic?” “Cutting women’s head off, but then I have some difficulty putting them back together.”
They went for a coffee, and Sophie left soon to Tom’s disappointment, she was going to a literary ceremony. “Ci vediamo alla festa!” she said leaving; they liked to talk Italian sometimes.
Sophie and Jim were waiting for their guests on their terrace in the 5th, she was dressed like a Spanish dancer that night and Jim was a noble of the 8th c. He would have dressed like this every day he used to say; were their masks more real than their habitual dress?
Titta and his boyfriend arrived first. She was a hippie girl that evening, a culture which represented her defeated ideals. She was a bit overweight because of her recent pregnancy and her companion was Donald Trump, but it wasn’t Halloween. Titta had decided not to have the baby because they hadn’t enough money, so her boyfriend had begun to understand Trump, Trump wasn’t so stupid; he was right in the end: you need a lot of money if you want your girl to be with you, nothing had really changed since the Great Gatsby, apparently. That night was the start of a new beginning for most of them. Titta was wearing some blue make-up, she wanted to call her baby Blue, a very common name among hippies; she kissed every one that night, leaving blue spots on their faces, as if she had shared her pain with people at the party, or were they all accomplices in some way? Was society guilty for her crime? And what about her ambitions? She took the confetti-cannon Sophie had bought the day before and it exploded in her hands, her mind exploded too.
That night there were musicians, new and old friends, extras and protagonists, delicious food. Indiana arrived, and after talking a few minutes with Sophie, he eventually met Jim, for whom he already felt a strong admiration, because he was “the man” to Titta and Sophie. He was in love with Titta because she was the woman to protect, but he wasn’t able to protect anyone, not even himself, since his mother had become lesbian because of his nasty father, so he rejected his masculinity and his father’s patriarchal Western ideals. Sophie represented passion instead, someone unattainable and quite scary for an almost homosexual, but also his maternal side, which he was unable to accept. He loved them both, but he fell in love with Jim that evening and Jim with him. Jim was captured by Tom, they had two things in common: two homosexual older brothers, and Sophie and Titta. They loved Titta because she was weak, vulnerable and easily tameable. While that evening Sophie was totally absorbed by a mysterious beautiful knight. Poor Trump, who was a handsome guy as well, but cuckolded and not sick yet; there was a high concentration of beautiful people at the party. When they were all drunk, the crowd split in two groups. Titta, Tom, Jim, Trump and some others went to the terrace, among smoky humid air; Sophie stayed inside. She was talking with the unknown knight, the most beautiful man at the party, and one of her friends, both delighted by Sophie’s company. The knight was charming, beautiful, clever, married with four children. Together with Sophie’s friend they believed Sophie was the heroin of a great novel, they were enchanted listening to her.
On the couch, the knight’s wife and Spiderman were talking, they were both in unhappy marriages, with children, devoted to their companions because of duty and money, as most of the marriages among the Parisian bourgeoisie. Spiderman suggested to the knight’s wife that she should watch out for her husband who seemed interested in Sophie and she agreed. In the meanwhile, another weird couple was giving lessons in tantric sex, and among unhappy couples and troubled singles they were having a big success. A hunchbacked Vietnamese, in love with Jim was around, almost invisible but trying to understand the real relationship between Sophie and Jim, and she noticed there was a distance. She also saw how Jim was in love with Titta, but Titta wasn’t interested in him, so she realized that she had a chance with him.
The party’s over
Almost 2 am, people were leaving. The beautiful knight was going back to his 4 children, Tom left as well, complaining to Sophie about Trump “Trump hates me!”, said Tom. What a child. “You want to fuck his girlfriend, it’s normal! Don’t worry he hates Jim as well, because Titta loves Jim”, Sophie said before Tom left. With that evening, everything changed for everyone, but especially for Sophie. Titta met Jim some days later, and told him a distorted truth about Tom and Sophie. Titta hated Sophie because she had Jim, a place to stay and hadn’t had an abortion. Titta was thrown out of Trump’s house, lost her baby and her job, though Trump took her back immediately. Titta wanted Sophie to suffer more than her, because she was jealous, her mind was completely fucked up, especially after the abortion. She told Jim about Sophie and Tom, that they had kissed. She knew because she had blackmailed Tom, who was under Titta’s spell and betrayed his friend Sophie, telling about their kiss. While Titta didn’t care about Tom, she liked Jim, and maybe she wanted Sophie as well, in a distorted way, she also had lesbian tendencies. Jim was weak, he felt guilty towards Sophie because he didn’t fuck her, but never had had the courage to admit it, it would have meant to recognize his disease, and that was impossible. His male side, the one he refused, woke up again, but his neurons weren’t balanced, he was sick like Althusser and under treatment. So he became nasty and violent, hiding his jealousy for about a year, just in time to find someone to replace Sophie, and the Vietnamese was around, waiting for this. Everything was reckoned and planned together also with his family, a couple of perverted people who couldn’t accept the illness of their son and theirs either, so better to kill anyone who discovered their secret than to admit they were wrong, and save their bourgeois façade. Jim’s mother emasculated all the members of her family, the father was a ghost in her power, the first son became homosexual and ran away with a Thai boy who looked like a baby, both were addicted to gambling, Jim tried to commit suicide and never recovered, Sophie was the only one trying to give him back his “penis”, and she was cut off. He was emotionally dependent, unable to love Sophie or someone else for real, so he first found a substitute, the Vietnamese, then made a plan to get rid of her.
While Tom and Titta argued some weeks later, because Tom understood that she just made fun of him. “Trump” in the meanwhile, became disenchanted because of Titta, who remained with him for convenience and not for love and he wasn’t able to react. Jim showed the violence of an incel indeed, he was able to throw Sophia away of home but not to fuck her. He didn’t ask Sophie if Titta had told him the truth, he was more sensitive to flattery than to love. It was a conspiracy against the only person who was able to love, Sophie, against the one who showed real friendship to everyone, but while the others stayed tied to their damned chains – they were all prisoners – their hate set her free, she was the philosopher in the platonic cave.
Indiana’s hat remained at Jim’s apt., because Indiana didn’t exist, and it’s still there.
Tom didn’t forget the hat. Before leaving the party, he looked at Sophie and then at his hat and left: Sophie had unmasked him.
One year later, Sophie lost her home.
From a mazanine, her new temporary shelter, she called him: “Very well done Tom, you told Titta we kissed, and she told Jim, and now we broke up!” He tried denial but then he confessed, “I didn’t want I swear, she obliged me, and I was under her spell at that time, if you want I can talk to Jim and tell him that nothing happened!” Too late. He was still trying to talk to Sophie when she blocked his contact. He never heard again about her .