Smoke & Mirrors

3 min readSep 13, 2021


This is Real, the madman says, with a grin between his teeth —

Such was a beautiful thought. Such a peaceful feeling. A very, very cool consolation prize.

…only that it’s fake, isn’t it?

Nothing was real. None of it will be. Never could it be.

Not one piece, not one second, not one memory.

What was it, then?

Illusions of a mastermind. Parlor tricks and magician’s secrets. Maybe.

Whatever it was, it burned, boiled, distilled then got bottled up in those intoxicating knock-offs of it all.

It was a beautiful fight.

And now, now, now, it’s time to count your losses, put out the flame.

Arsonist is the last thing I need on my CV.

Fires are never meant to last. They’re not desired, prayed upon, sought out.

Fires are meant to be extinguished, asap, before someone else gets hurt.

I lit the flame, I must admit.

Everything I was, I hid, and in your eyes I was everything I could be.

Again and again, minute after minute, hour after hour, I would play hide and seek and I would stare back, mesmerized by the reflection.

Beautiful, brave, smart, kind… I could be all and so much more, as long as you wouldn’t adventure far too deep into what I was showing you.

And you? I had no idea.

I still don’t, honestly.

Minute after minute, hour after hour, I dream and wonder about the you that you could be, and the you that you already are. Beautiful, brave, smart, kind…I still don’t know if that’s who you are, or if that’s who I see.

Photo by Randy Jacob on Unsplash

What do I know, then?

I do know about the anxieties, the fear, the tears, the rage, the craving, the silence.

I know them all by heart, I nursed them and brought them up, gave them my all, while waiting and longing for the end.

And now?

Now it’s time to run for cover, before you get hurt, before I get hurt, before the me that I am doesn’t morph into the me that you see.

Now it’s the time you forget and forgive, move forward and never look back. It’s your time now.

Leave it to me and I’ll keep the fire alive. Leave it to me and I will burn the you that I see and the you that you are — along with everything caught in between.

Smoke and mirrors, that’s all that this was, and now it’s time for the fat lady to sing, and for the fire to fade. Here is my air, here is my life, I’m giving you all, so the fire won’t burn.

All that I am and all that we were, say goodbye and hide the flames, don’t look back, don’t look back, don’t look back.

Photo by Robert Zunikoff on Unsplash