It took you all of a minute, a second or less. You laid bare the flesh, the soul, the sketch.

Cloth after cloth. Layer after layer. Skin to skin. Strip. Discard. Destroy. You. Naked except flesh. You. Just blemishes, just  scars. Just mistakes, just flaws. You. Seemingly endless white, pale skin. A pull of a nerve, a flash, a ridge. Some furrows. Some hills.

I traced my fingers across your imperfections, a map, a direction, connected dot to dot to dot, lit up like a fairy tale in the dark. Warm. Fuzzy. Covered in errors.

It took you all of a minute, a second or less, to decide to show you, me. Insecurity covering your surface like an invisibility cloak, it shone. Your eyes revealed nothing. No harm ever done, no damaged goods. No baggage, no past, no weight of a million heartbroken souls riding on your shoulders, buried underneath a sleeve. There was no sleeve, mere you. Naked except flesh.

Your eyes did their crazy dance, lowered, walled, your pearly whites their fake routine. Stretch. Cower. Stretch. Cower. My, did you smile like you never meant a single word you said. Lies, coated with the choicest of sugar and yet, you shone. Yet, your body. Bare. Embrace your aberrations or flee, nay?

No religion, no god. No family, no story. No history, no future, no easel, no strings. Just some parchment and some tales, you cooked those on the way here, way around me. Convenient. Curious. Clever. Cryptic. Stretch. Cower. Hide. Shower. Praises. Some more of that sugar. And yet, you. Are those your clothes over there, in that corner? Did you take off your guard? Did you decide, did you let me in? Did you cover your tracks perfectly, did you invent a you no one knew? Did you remove your hurt, did you disguise your darkness, your kink, your nothingness? Nothingness, there’s that. What are you without that story you finished last month, last year? What can you be, where can you reach? There’s nothing, just nothingness. But you. Where can you go?

My eyes are virgin, they’ve never seen someone free. They’ve never yet been set on something pure, unadulterated, powerless and completely free. Free of judgment, free of fear, free of disappointment, free of expectations, free of loss, free of strength, gullible, vulnerable, hopeless and completely in control. I couldn’t make up my mind, your bareness, what can it be?

Answer me. If night after night, I get to see, a human whose contours contain more stories than a hundred songs of fiction, who wears his distress like a crown atop his shaved head, and refuses to let humanity get under his pale, white, who’s as confused as the next man, and yet, who is willing to reveal more about himself in a hour of a meet, than a man can in years of togetherness, would I, after many nights to come and yet, a destination quite certain, would I, see me? Would I wear myself proud, the way I wear you? And would I see me, in all my glory, the way I could spot you in a crowd of a million, unmasked, unplugged and standing tall? Naked except flesh. And yet, inked with wrongs?

Should everyone lie bare? Skin to skin, flesh to flesh? Would the world finally put away their scripts and their codes, their puppeteering, their pantomimes, and pull the curtains on their minds, instead? Answer me.


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