- Vol. 06
- Chapter 04
Image by Norbu Gyachung
BeneathWhat are you hiding, I wonder? What is behind that façade? That uniform?
So bold. So strong. So aggressive.
It’s a shield. All of it, a shield from top to toe.
The voice behind your voice.
‘Don’t dare mess with me,’ it yells.
But isn’t that what it’s for, the uniform? To needle me? To taunt, ‘come on, have a go. What’s stopping you, you know you want to.’
‘Recognise me, fear me, see what I am,’ it mutters in a sneaky, malevolent whisper. But how can I? There’s nothing of YOU to see, just surface.
‘I’m better than you,’ it shouts.
But how can I know if it’s true?
The uniform hides all things.
Hides status, class, identity.
I wonder. Are we two that different, underneath?
But I can’t let wondering get in my way. Can’t have feelings. Can’t imagine.
We are opposite.
This space between us should be a barrier, but we both know it’s not.
I can feel it, the space. It’s a fence of nervous tension. It festers with energy, fermenting from fear and anger - and excitement.
Do we both want something to happen?
Do we both want that barrier breached?
Do we want to bray and stomp and swing and drag and bruise and batter and beat?
BeneathPerhaps we do.
Perhaps that’s what our uniforms do.
I wonder how old she is? The same age as my mum?
Why does she do it? Wear that make up? Dye her hair? Wear such strange clothes?
And she thinks I’m the one in a uniform. Thinks she’s the individual, I’m the authoritarian cog in a machine of oppression.
But we are two sides of a self.
Opposing and opposed.
And who knows which is which?
I suppose it depends which side you’re on.
Or does it?