Do Our Faces Even Matter?

“”You know, I wish our eyes could see souls instead of faces. The outside sometimes distracts from what’s really important but it’s only — only a vessel, the envelope to a letter. A pretty envelope is nice, but you’re not going to read an envelope. You look at it then cast it aside, because it’s the letter you want. I wish people could understand that. There’s no point making an envelope pretty if the letter inside is blank or poorly written.” “

artbyphazed
Art by: Phazed

“You know,” she confessed “Some days I don’t even feel beautiful. But that’s okay. Sometimes I think I don’t even need to be. There are days…” she trailed off.

“Days when I just…am. Days when it doesn’t matter how I look, how I think I look. There are days when I’m not stuck in my own head and nothing about who I am matters. I just am. Without consent or approval, without shame or judgement. I just am. Like the wind, or the sun, or—or Nature. I do what I am meant to do, unhindered. ”

He smiled to her a serene smile.

“You know, I wish our eyes could see souls instead of faces. The outside sometimes distracts from what’s really important but it’s only — only a vessel, the envelope to a letter. A pretty envelope is nice, but you’re not going to read an envelope. You look at it then cast it aside, because it’s the letter you want. I wish people could understand that. There’s no point making an envelope pretty if the letter inside is blank or poorly written.” he said, a chagrined expression on his face.

“But I understand in a way,” she smiled wryly “The envelope lets you know that the letter is here and it also keeps it safe. So I’m not complaining. Even the plainest envelope becomes beautiful when the letter inside is.”

With that, she poked his nose and ran away, her head thrown back in laughter.

Childhood

“Childhood…I would have let myself become sad a long time ago if you hadn’t been here. I would have lost my way, I would have lost you and I would have lost me.”

Burning Man Festival Alexander Milov Vitaliy Deynega
Sculpture by: Alexander Milov • Photograph by: Vitaliy Deynega

“Wait! Wait for me! Where are you going?” cried the little one, running up to the vanishing silhouette. 

“Why are you going so fast? Don’t—don’t leave me…You said we’d always be together!”

“Where I’m going,” said the taller one, stopping to kneel besides the other, “you can’t follow. I need to go alone.”

“But you have to take me with you! You have to! You said it that if we weren’t together then, then it doesn’t mean anything. If I’m not with you, you’ll let yourself become sad.” whimpered the child.

“Childhood,” murmured the other, a melancholic smile tugging at their mouth and one hand ruffling the child’s hair, “I would have let myself become sad a long time ago if you hadn’t been there. I would have lost my way, I would have lost you and I would have lost me.” The older one’s voice was now watery, tremulous. “And not having you, I will surely get a little lost, but I’m doing it for you. I can’t bring you this time around. They don’t like children where I’m going. They’ll hurt you. But I’ll always remember you.

I am here because of you, you know? If there’s no you, there’s no me. I’ll come back for you, I promise.”

Deserve (Short Story)

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Art by 미지

“It’s easy to think that you are little when the world is so big. Insignificance comes too easily to your mind, but remember— You, with your tender heart and kind soul, deserve to be here as much as the forests or mountains. You are small but mighty. You are small but you live. You can do this, and more.” whispered the ancient spirit of the Feilglahd forest, as she sent a gentle breeze to ruffle the boy’s already messy hair.

“Humans,” she mused as the boy ran to his destiny, emboldened now. “They never know their own strengths, and when they do…” she sighed, her eyes going even paler as they landed on the decimated trees nearby, “they think they can never be weak again.”

She turned to look at the boy’s disappearing silhouette again.

“But you, you will be different.”

And in a gust of wind, she disappeared.

The Monster, Death (Short Story Part I)

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Artist Sadly Unknown

He had sought it out earlier than most.

At 16, he was calling upon its name, the one word leaving his lips in a painful howl.

It met him then, tearful and grieving as he was, and the sight of it, more than its sudden appearance stunned him into terrified silence. He had expected a monster with bloody fangs, the foul stench of dead bodies permeating its coat of black. He had recoiled, merely imagining the merciless bead-like eyes, hungry to witness yet another slaughter.

But the real thing was so much more terrifying. It was eerie and…beautiful, though he could not see its face. It was clothed in flowing robes of white to which clung a light, sticky coat of dust and grit. It advanced with grace and not murderous intent, as though it could not walk but only fly.

He stared, still stunned at this ethereal entity that could only be Death.

And though its cloak, like a veil on its face, betrayed nothing of what might lie beneath, he could still feel its strong, binding gaze on him.

Death remained still, waiting as if.

And that was when the reality of it all came crashing down on him. Here was Death, this murderer, standing before him, all dressed in white.

“My friend! My friend! You—you murdered him!” he bellowed, his shaking finger pointing at the white, otherworldly figure.

Tears stung his eyes once more, and the pain in his chest returned tenfold.

There was Death, standing before him, its robes of white billowing around like the very air around him was sacred. And his friend, his friend laid in the earth, buried under the ground, never to surface again.

The thought of it, of his friend’s lively face now…dead, now covered in dirt sent his heart beating to a mad rhythm. His eyes screwed shut in spite of his desperate attempts to keep them open, for fear of Death that was still, he felt it, gazing into his very soul.

As he gasped for breath and struggled to open his eyes, a smell of dirt and smoke hit his nose. The air around him grew colder and suddenly, something glacial and wisp-like pressed against his forehead.

As his head fell back into the darkness, he could recall only one thing.

A voice, clear and pure, unlike any he had heard before, uttering words he would never forget:

“Many die of broken hearts.”

Rise Above (Short Story)

“”But there are cases where the mere act of fighting is victory in itself. The darkness you fight here—” he remarked, tapping his wrinkled finger against the boy’s beating heart, “is an example of that.””

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Illustration Credits: Artist Sadly Unknown

“You know,” stated the teacher “I have always said that the world would not be kind to you. You will have to fight an unjust system and all kinds of monsters masquerading as men, knowing that you, being a single unit fighting a system, a single soul wrestling with the universe, are severely disadvantaged. There will be times when your best will not be enough, when trying hard will mean nothing if you do not succeed. You will have to be tough beyond what human softness you may possess. Because the world does not care for your struggles. It is win or lose, live or die, but—” he stopped, drawing in a sharp breath.

Behind his half-rimmed spectacles,blue eyes narrowed in on the boy. The teacher’s mouth was drawn in a thin, taut line and for the life of him, the boy could not discern what the hard,scrutinising look meant. He feared that it meant he was in trouble.  He dreaded the idea that perhaps…perhaps he had shown weakness. Or worse yet. Perhaps he had shown himself to be irreparably weak, broken. Perhaps…and he dared not think it was true, he had let the man down.

The latter, with his strong, set shoulders, slicked back grey hair and the usual cunning look in his eyes, did not help any and made him want to croak an apology and then run far, so far into himself that there could be no way back.

The older man’s eyes softened, their blueness now calming, a bit like the sea on a beautiful day.

“But there are cases where the mere act of fighting is victory in itself. The darkness you fight here—” he remarked, tapping his wrinkled finger against the boy’s beating heart, “is an example of that.”

“I do not say this lightly. You are strong, my boy. Whether you win or lose, it is your refusal to give in to these dark times which makes you strong. And even if the battle never ends, this is already a sign of victory. This is you reclaiming what is yours, even if you may never get it back the same.”

And then, something happened.

The old man smiled at him.

And in that moment, the boy knew that what he was doing was right. He knew with a burning conviction that people were strong not because they had no weaknesses, but because they fought to rise above them.

 

Beautiful Eyes

“And, as if to further make his point, he added:

“You are beautiful for what you are,not for what you appear to be.” “

“You think you are not beautiful,” he said, his voice but a caress lost in the breeze.

“You think…You say your eyes aren’t beautiful because they aren’t doe-like, because their colour is ‘dull’. But that’s not what makes eyes beautiful.” he said.

“What makes eyes beautiful is the ability to see good in people, the ability to see a dream instead of a dead-end. What makes eyes beautiful is everything but the way they look. It is when you look at me, and see me as more than everyone else believes me to be. It is when you have compassion and love and kindness in them that they are beautiful.”

“It’s no wonder you thought you weren’t beautiful,” he chided, “You’ve been looking at beauty with all the wrong eyes.”

And, as if to further make his point, he added:

“You are beautiful for what you are,not for what you appear to be.”

(Illustration Credit: Hélène Delmaire Art)