Today’s writing assignment in my Junior Honors Paragraph is the second in the newly implemented “Best Paragraph” series. The overall purpose is to get my students thinking about the strategic composition of ideas. It isn’t so much about content as it is organization and structure. Each student was given an image and charged with writing their best paragraph based on their interpretation of the image and whatever thoughts it may have incited. I started one and it ended up becoming this whole thing which is simultaneously about no one in particular yet specifically applies to Lynnette and me.
This image is the visual representation of a relationship doomed from the start, and it has nothing to do with the winged, ominous harbinger in the foreground. The masked lovers’ faces centimeters apart, implying a kiss, but this is only the facade of intimacy. How can you love someone if you don’t know who they are? How can someone love you if you prevent them from seeing you? It’s impossible. And still we try for love this way because we aren’t motivated by happiness, we’re motivated by fear: the fear of inadequacy, the fear of making ourselves vulnerable, the fear that love can never be as wonderful and breathtaking as it in the fantasies we spend both night and day conjuring. So we wear masks and accept them on the faces of those we would call our lovers. Is it any wonder, then, that the whole thing falls apart as the masks fall away? Our expectations were never tied to any kind of reality, only lies that we created – and we are somehow ambushed, betrayed, and destroyed when the truth invariably and inevitably reveals itself.