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Monday, August 28, 2006 

What lies beneath

Her voice is tired, husky and dry. Her hair shows the remnants of styling, but has been mussed up and is now messy across her face. The bed she sits upon is a wreck; sheets twisted and tangled together, the pillows pushed right up against the wall.

She stands, crosses the room, walking over her own clothes as she does so. Looks in the mirror. Makeup smudged, eyes dark with mascara and eyeliner. And for a while, she doesn’t move. She just stands as if mesmerised. Trying to work out whether she’s happy or sad, trying to work out why it doesn’t hurt more. Trying to work out why all she feels is a quiet euphoria, a sleepy contentedness that creeps up from her toes and through her limbs like a dull fire.

Maybe it should hurt more. Maybe it should make her cry. Maybe she should be sitting realising how much she can’t have. But maybe it’s enough to know that she has had it for a while. Maybe it’s enough to get on with being for a while, and forget about the falling.

She drifts. It isn’t that this moment is exceptional; it isn’t that it hurts more than everything else; it’s just that it seems to sum everything else up. Standing staring at a reflection is hard when you realise that you aren’t just facing a façade, you’re facing yourself. And knowing what’s going on inside your head to give you that expression is like staring into the ocean and suddenly being able to count every fish beneath the surface.

She isn’t happy or sad. She hasn’t been hurt, and she hasn’t felt the need to cry. She’s had happiness, and just because it isn’t there anymore, that doesn’t mean that she’s suddenly going to realise that the loss is any bigger than before, it’s there, it hasn’t changed, how can it be different?

She grimly smiles at her reflection, wipes the makeup from beneath her eyes, and runs her fingers through her hair. It will happen again, and there will be the same recognition. There will be the same joy, and the same pain. Things repeat themselves, and all we can do is work out each time whether it was good it was repeated, or if we wish to avoid it again in future. And each time, we have to work this out for ourselves. Because people will think they know what’s best, people will make their own judgements, people will tell you what they think, and it will make sense.

But the girl who stares in the mirror is the one with the view of the fish. We can stand next to her and stare at the sea, but we’ll only see the breakers and seagulls, she sees what lies beneath. Only she can tell you what’s in her heart.

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This is a beautiful post.

Standing outside yourself, perhaps through reflection, can often give new and interesting insights.

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About me

  • An albatross can fly for thousands of miles without getting tired. I've always thought that love is similar to flying, therefore we should aspire to be like the albatross.

    I don't know if I can do that. So far I haven't been so lucky. But one day I'll test my wings with someone, and flying won't be so hard after all. Or so painful.
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    * In 2001 one New Zealand fishing boat killed over 300 seabirds in just one trip, while fishing for ling.
    * Each year over 300,000 seabirds are killed by longline fishing.
    * Over the past 60 years some albatross populations have declined by 90%.
    * Annually around 10,000 albatross and petrels are caught in New Zealand waters alone.
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