Sex and the Chester: Masked Love

By Alyssa Velazquez
Elm Staff Writer

This weekend while walking around everyday locations like supermarkets and local drugstores one will find, right next to the penicillin or frozen pizza, bloody plastic chainsaws, cotton shredded outfits, and plastic faces fashioned with uneven eye holes.

Halloween is here ladies and gentlemen, and with all the fake blood and dressed up ghouls running around I can’t help but think about the act of charades and how maybe masks aren’t just reserved for the yearly all Hallow’s Eve stocked shelves. Perhaps we are always buying, wearing, and selling these plastic coverings, even within our relationships.

Yet how, if these relationship hauntings prowl our every day lives, can we distinguish the apparitions from the real thing? When is a relationship real and when is covered up with makeup and cheap fabric?

A long time ago, when I wore glasses on an everyday basis and dreamed of the day when Ashley Angel from Otown would fall madly in love with me, there was a boy whom I became very good friends with because of a girl.

I had known the girl for some time because of our mutual obsession with community theater, and it was during a production of “Jesus Christ Superstar” that I would take part in my first love triangle. After auditions, and as rehearsals began to become more frequent, I started to notice my female friend putting distance between her and her boyfriend.

This distance was another boy, who also happened to be a friend of mine. As I witnessed my two friends spending more and more time in the shadows of a stairwell, I couldn’t help but feel pity for the now-odd man out.

So I did the next best thing in light of his absentee girlfriend: I became his friend.

At the time I was surprised at his willingness for our high-speed friendship; looking back now I realize he knew what was going on between his girlfriend and my friend, yet he never confronted them about it.

In fact, in all our conversations a breakup was never an option for him; many would say that he loved her. I naively thought he loved her, and that here before me was a real, in-the-flesh, unrequited love story straight out of the silver screen.

As with most relationships that involve three people, there was a decision to be made, and in the end my girlfriend dumped her boyfriend. His unrequited love was not cute or endearing, it was simply that: unrequited.

After the breakup, which happened during a rehearsal, there we were sitting back stage on a swan in the shape of a boat. It was a set piece in the theater’s storage space. I looked at the boy sitting next to me, and couldn’t help feeling immense sadness for him, not because he had just been dumped, or because he had been so resilient in a non-existent relationship, rather that he thought his love for her was real and that their relationship had been real when all of it was just a façade.

When he finally looked up from his hands into my eyes, I saw the same look I had seen him give his now ex-girlfriend times before, and if within twenty minutes of a breakup those feeling were possible I knew he had never truly loved her.

Yet how do we know for sure if we ever truly love someone? How do we know if we are in a relationship for a relationship or just to serve as a mask in society? Have we somewhere along the way forgot what is to love?

With the tragic case of my friend and his ex, their relationship was for the female, a source of convenience and with the male, a relationship was a daily part of his life that he couldn’t live without: hence his reluctant to end the relationship despite her external affairs.

I wish I had the answers to what makes a relationship real or a figment of our imagination, the exact tendencies of masked lovers in order for us to keep clear of their killing spree, or even how to distinguish if we really love someone.

Perhaps the only real difference between a masked relationship and a true one depends on the aspect of love you care about the most: the relationship or your significant other.

After rehearsal that day, getting up from the coverage of the swan boat the boy whom I had come to consider as a friend, turned to me and asked if I would like to go to prom with him.

I looked at him, gave him a hug, and shook my head no because there was no need for words, there was nothing else to say. Our friendship would not go beyond the final performance of the show because like his relationship, our friendship had been fake.

He would, as cloaked serial killers go on to the next potential victim, feeding off their relationships for the sustainment of themselves and hidden behind the notion of love: truly living up to their name as masked predators.

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