Disclaimer: Okay, this is starting to feel ridiculous. No one ever believes me when I say something isn't about them anyway, so I don't know why I bother. But still, I feel it necessary to mention that this was started months ago and finished just recently (due to lack of interest, as usual), so clearly it's not all going to be about the same thing. Really, it isn't. That being the case, please don't take this personally or attempt to accuse me of attributing things, because I'm not. When I write these, they're not meant to be a damned instruction book. They're meant to express my own feelings. I dislike being told they're anything different, because they aren't. And, yes, there's a reason why this disclaimer just became a rant. Don't ask.

Miles of glistening sand stretch before you like a field of diamonds reflecting the gleaming sun. The heat is blistering, yet somehow its raging warmth does not affect you. Let your eyes slide shut, staring deep into the azure sky, but seeing nothing.

You are caught.

You may have walked here, believing in the promise of dew-dropped grass and shady groves. You might have followed the call of a gurgling stream as it laughed and bubbled near your ear. And now you find yourself standing in the midst of something you cannot fight, only accept.

Maybe you didn't look far enough past the enchanting fašade to where the truth lay hidden. The mask was beautiful, exquisitely wrought, and so full of conviction. On the outside, it was dazzling. You never thought that it could not be yours.

Somehow it kept itself just out of your reach. Your fingers might have brushed it, that one fleeting touch that sent your heart plummeting to the ground, but it was never really close. It only teased and taunted, trailing tepid fingers across your flushed and heated cheek. When you reached for it, it was no longer there. And maybe its butterfly touch was only a fragment of your imagination. You may never know.

But you might also be fully aware of what you are doing and of your own engagement in this masquerade. Maybe you have played this game so long that you are trapped in your own fragile web of lies, unsure of which strand to break for fear that all of you will come crashing down. Too easily constructed, the illusion may take far too much to fracture. You have built yourself so deep within its iron walls that you may have lost yourself.

Perhaps, too, the game is a protection. Maybe you spent too much time tailoring yourself to what was expected or to what everyone else hoped for instead of what you needed. Then the mirror reflecting back at them shows them exactly what they want to see. You are still there, ensnared in your own world, knowing only that the reality is yours and yours alone. Yet remember that these realities can only be separate for so long before a chasm forms between them. A chasm that may become too wide to cross.

You might find yourself stuck on one side of this canyon, caught in what everyone believes you to be. You may feel you have no choice but to sink deeper in their expectations. Or perhaps you left yourself open and vulnerable, while the results left you wanting nothing more than to tend your wounds in peace, and their expectations mean nothing.

It is these expectations and these disappointments that you must escape. Not only your expectations of yourself, but also those you have for others. It is only too easy to weave your way deeper into the endless labyrinth, always turning corners, simply to become disillusioned because no new passages await you.

These turns are choices you have made, perhaps unconsciously, perhaps unavoidable, but nevertheless of your own making. You can disappear deeper into the sandy crush or you can search vainly for the oasis, but either way you must find your way through the tedious scenery. You may not be able to change the sliding sand around you, but you can alter the path you take through it. It is the only thing you yourself control.

Sliding backwards, burying itself just beneath the film of sand, that elusive mask is still too far away to grasp. Look closely at its crafted edges and perhaps you will see that it, like your game, is only a protection. Maybe behind it hides a dream, found only in the dark of night, where everything is beautiful and so easy to believe. And maybe it hides a nightmare, hideous and better left far from graceful light.

Whatever it hides, it must be shattered. Illusions and facades only get in the way, obscuring the truth and shrouding what should be laid bare. Only after the reveries have been dissolved can you find what is really there. Only then can you decide what you need.



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