A couple of years ago, when I was still small and wrapped in the belief that fairies were for real, that Santa Claus really came to drop in gifts on the eve of Christmas, that monsters lived under my bed, I came across a word, simple at first sight but quite complex to understand because no matter who I asked, no one could possibly give me an answer that would satisfy the thirst of a young innocent mind.

That word was ” EMOTIONS”. I wanted to know what were emotions and where do we get them from. I remember asking everyone around me but none of what was told to me helped me understand that word. Days went by and I was still looking for an answer. One day, I bumped into an old man who was busy talking to himself. I remember being scared when he turned and looked straight into my eyes. Slowly, he mumbled that his story will give me my answer but after the story, I will be bound by a promise. And I remember only nodding my head without understanding what he asked me.

The old man asked me to close my eyes while he took me into another world through the echo of his stumbling voice.

I still remember walking through a narrow stone corridor lit up by lanterns that seemed to be never ending to my small trembling steps. After walking as many steps as my feet could possibly endure, I came to face a huge colossal wall where all sorts of “faces” were hanging, some with the most captivating features, others with less striking ones and some others really awful ones. All hung up in silence waiting to be chosen by the wearer who would choose and then decide for how long to keep it.

I watched all those faces in absolute astonishment, there seemed to be countless “faces”, one for happiness, one for anger, one for despair, one for hope, one for sadness, one for confidence, one for love, one for hatred, one for kindness, one for affection… each one different from the other, there was not one that was similar to the other. I was lost among all these “faces” busy admiring their uniqueness, their precision until the old man’s voice pulled me out of the dream world.

The grandpa smiled as he read through the astonishment plastered upon my face and sat down next to me. I was told that all the emotions that we, humans, were feeling were actually face masks that we chose to wear for some time until we decide to change it for another one. Somehow, it was the story that this aged wise man uttered that made sense to my young brain.

So, I thought if I was being rewarded for something, then I would run up to that wall and choose the the “face” with the most beautiful smile and put it on me to receive my reward. If i was being scolded for some wrongdoing, I would have most probably gone for the “face” that would be looking upset.

Satisfied with the answer I got, I was about to run home but I was pulled back by the old man. He chuckled as he reminded me that after the story comes the time for the promise. I was told by the man that these “faces” define the person who chooses them but does not define the situation that made the person choose a particular face.

Puzzled, I asked the old man, what is the promise all about and he asked me to promise myself that no matter how complex or difficult a situation is in life, I should be very careful in choosing what “face” I choose to wear. Because, the “faces” end up becoming a part of the person using them no matter for how long they use them.

Even today, years after my encounter with this old man, I still think about his story about the “faces” and I make sure to take my time to choose which “face” I decide to put up for the day, for any situation and any person in front of me because these “faces” define who I am…


8 thoughts on “THE FACES

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