LOVE FOR BEGINNERS

Letters by Kenny Mah

• • •

Faces

• • •

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
August 20, 2008


Hey you,


We disguise ourselves.

This isn’t the colour of our skin. Our flesh betrays only our ethnicity, not our ambitions nor our answers (for what questions? we sometimes wonder). These clothes we wear, they do not make us. We are not nylon and polyester, linen or wool. We would like to think we’re silk perhaps, but no, we’re not even that. These threads will unravel, you can pull them apart. But we shan’t unravel, not even when we fall apart. You will not know us. We are masters of disguise, we are good at what we do.

A hundred strangers passing each other every day in the streets. Our hair spring free, snake and hiss like Medusa’s tresses, our hair we wrap up in fervent modesty. We do not know each other. We can dye our hair or hide it. We can get a permanent wave or shave it all off. It makes no difference, really. We are not our hair.

Our shoes and our bags. Designer labels scream louder than a gentle word. Prada, Armani, Versace, Gucci; we shorten Louis Vuitton as LV. The more brands we flaunt, the less of ourselves we have to be. Identities can be discarded. We don’t have to be who we are. We can re-design ourselves.

Our hearts? Well, let’s just say we don’t wear ours on our sleeves. Every single way we could get hurt, we will, every single day. No, we rather keep our secrets, and no matter how many tries you make, all we’ll offer you are safe lies and vows turned fake.

 
Devil and I

 
We disguise ourselves, but not always completely.

This is the colour of my eyes. It isn’t black or brown or blue or green or gold. Look into them and you might catch an honest glimpse of me. Here are my dreams and my hopes, everything I ever wanted to be. Here is the ideal me, the imperfect person you can love cos I keep on trying despite failing. I can’t fail all the time, right? I look into your eyes and I see your faith in me. All your love for me. We can’t mistake this, the evidence is irrefutable. Our eyes say it all.

This is your nose, sharp and certain. These are your cheeks, soft as cushions. These are your ears, where I whisper my confessions, all the bad that I am and the worse still that I get — that you will forgive regardless. This is your face, this is mine. We can’t hide anything from each other, the lies and secrets melt away. We let go and just go on.

I trail a finger slowly across your face, from your forehead down to your chin, pull up and rest it on your lips. Tell me anything, my baby my baby my baby, anything you want. Tell me anything and let it be a promise. Tell me anything and let it come true.


Yours always and always,
Me.




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