Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Shrugging Atlas

If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater the effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders -- what would you tell him to do?
I don't know. What could he do? What would you tell him?
To shrug.

I'm smart.

We know, they say, with a tinge of understanding in their voice, and a great deal of disapproval for my arrogance in their eye.

I'm strong.
We know that, they assure me, with a sideways glance at my slight frame and an ill-masked look that conveys their supposed attempt to humour the child they know I am being.

I know.
We know, they sigh, shaking their heads at the book between my fingers and my black-framed glasses that, like my face, are buried in the pages it houses.

I think.
We have always known, they venture. They look nowhere but in the depths of my eyes, as though searching for a break, a flaw in the thought whose lack of sentiment discomforts them.

I believe.
They smile, knowing my rationality will keep me from any real belief- their eyes betraying that they do not believe a belief in rationality to be true.

I love.
They look befuddled- their foreheads creasing into a maze of wrinkles, the corners of their mouths turning down in disbelief. They look for that hint of a sentiment they may identify with, search my face painstakingly, helplessly for that 'love'. They do not find it.
They do not find it, for my love is for the rare few that foster it, nurture it, bring it forth. For those wrinkled pages. For the comforting woodenness of a stage. For the lilting notes of a violin. For the faces- the ones I see every time I blink, and I will never tire of.
For them, for those who don't see how that love is born, I bear none. So they continue to search. Endlessly.

I live for me.
They protest instinctively, pointlessly, helplessly. They try to convince me that I'll grow out of it as I will grow out of everything else that I am now. Selfishness, they explain with gracious patience, will get me nowhere.
At them, I smile. I nod. I acknowledge. I listen. I understand. I don't disagree. I don't blame them for what they say. But I don't agree. I quietly, in the secrecy of my mind, revel in the confusion they bear towards me.
They will never grow out of it, I think, and laugh at the joke I know is only for me. To them, I offer no explanation. I present no defence. I make no comparison.

I am.
They are silent.


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