Posted in Short Stories

What shall I wear today?

By: Bryan Ricardo Marini Quintana

(John William Waterhouse, Echo and Narcissus, 1903)

Runway One: A Wardrobe Change

Within concealed walls in a dense room, an inkling of true personality scrambles to break free, as I cover it with an array of disguises, choosing which one will replace me today. Inside a vast wardrobe, fear calls me to taste a new appearance. A routinely procession pushes me into an unescapable habit, brandishing a different person every day. Each time I grow more attune within my disguise, feeding a cycle of repetition that’s become safe and eerily comfortable. This shroud of lies avoids me from ever wearing myself. With no need to display my inner self, any worry or anxiety quickly washes away. Finding utter tranquility by hiding behind another face, I choose to leave the strangling room lacking any originality in my attire, wearing a character that befits the outer perspective, whilst abandoning the comforting Inside.

Runway Two: A Performance For Festering Eyes

Hesitantly, I step away from the door, left with no other choice than to confront the terrifying Outside. Even though I eagerly await a swift return to the Inside, there’s a performance underway with an audience to satisfy. Desperately, I want to break the illusion of being a character. Finding more comfort in a serene room, reveling in my true inner self. However, the calming Inside is behind me, now I must traverse an unsettling Outside. The overcrowded streets with constant eyes fixed upon me, convey a distrustful ambience. Whenever traversing the boundless streets, a disguise shrinks me away from any undesired looks. This keeps me consistently wearing different faces to avoid disapproving glances and mortifying critiques. Regardless, the attire over time becomes a burden, with its weight dragging my pace. Every time temptation sways me to get rid of the mask, but the haunting thought of being noticed has kept the disguise on. Searching for answers, the Outside is quick to blame because its nature forces me into hiding from the judging Others, while gently caressing a wounded Inside that can’t be wrong, convincing myself into a lie of loving the attire.

Runway Three: Traversing Nature’s Course

Even though I’m in control over what to wear, a defiant wind from the Outside changes with persistence, whether to aid or hinder me. On one side, in summer, a rivalry arises between the sun and my attire. The heated rays drain me in an attempt to reveal the disguise. Each step of defiance lessens my pace, as a stream of sweat pours through my burnt body. Now, the layers of clothe turn sticky and uncomfortable to wear. In a weak state, I resist whilst boiling and drenched. Still undefeated, I dare challenge the might of the sun, bluffing that my burnt and soaked body still perseveres effortlessly. However, my strength has been spent unwisely, with the sun still ablaze, reigning over the Outside. Establishing its authority, the sun demands of me to get rid of the mask and unveil my true inner self that I’ve been hiding from the Other. Meanwhile, in winter, a union arises between the frost and my attire. This freezing ambience reflects my cold attitude in avoiding any contact with the Other. In winter, there’s an unwavering refreshing ambience that allows me to hide in disguise. A crisp wind reassures me that I’ll be concealed within the grasp of winter. Alongside, my attire is reinforced due to a cold-hearted weather that allows concealment. Regardless, both deal in treachery, aiding me while they ail the attire. Even though the sun blazes me to reveal the attire, its heat makes the Other want distance due to the soaked and boiled nature of summer. Besides, the freezing winds force me to seek warmth with the Other, in the chilling and petrified state it leaves my attire. This is nature’s chaotic way of betraying me no matter its state, forcing my true inner self to come out from the Inside to the Outside.

Runway Four: Comfortably Dressed

Heading back home, my excitement is unmanageable, for here I may relish again on the Inside. Once the door is closed, curtains shut and locks secured, I settle in with a mind at ease. Momentarily, I’m fleeting off the ground, free to enjoy myself. Straight away, I rip the intoxicating mask off, allowing myself a breath of fresh air. With little time left to relish the day, I enjoy every last ray that warms me, disregarding the sun’s decline. Inevitably, time prolongs as night deposes day, with a pale light making me shiver, I attentively watch the moon’s ascend. Suddenly, I’m reminded of tomorrow, knowing the Outside will be waiting for me again. Consequently, a once relaxed body now grows anxious. Before going to sleep, I stand right in front of the protective wardrobe. Following my procession, I worry over what to wear tomorrow. Quivering, I scroll through the endless attires to choose from. However, I’ve realized my wardrobe’s manipulative ways. Over time it has come to dictate what I wear every day. Turning around in defiance, I take a look at myself in the mirror. Desperately, I attempt to feel comfortable in my natural state of crude nakedness on the Inside. Agonizingly, the wardrobe reflects at my side, looking with disapproval over what I truly am. Moving away from the pile of clothes, I attempt to gain control over myself again. Meanwhile, the wardrobe pushes the clothes towards me, attempting to get a hold of my body. Struggling, we tackle each other for control over who will decide what to wear tomorrow. Sliding below and fleeting from above, piles of attires overwhelm my body. A horde of dull and plain costumes that hide my true inner self attach themselves to me. Attempting to break free is folly, with countless sleeves grabbing my feet and arms, twisting and tightening themselves around a frail body, forming inescapable knots. Horrified, I look over as the clothes stitch themselves to me from the tip of my toes to the top of my head. Painfully, in my petrified state, the attire attaches itself to a beaten body that’s defaced from the endless voluntary processions of sewing myself to false faces. Void of any will to fight, I succumb to the wardrobe that now possesses my body, picking the attire on the Inside and Outside, leaving me without choosing what to wear today.