behind this curtain

writing August 6, 2016

And now … drum roll, please … behind this curtain.

That crescendo of percussive anticipation, signaling its climax so we can all gasp in unison. Wonders revealed! The cruise to the Bahamas, five days and six nights, the new car, a lifetime supply of dish soap. And yet inevitably disappointing compared to what could have been hiding back there. Sometimes contestants would have to choose which curtain to pull back or which door to open. The anxiety of the decision–I would have stood stock still, frozen between.

Behind this curtain. It is as if I am pointing at a particular curtain and thereby setting it apart from all the other ones, a move that contradicts the fact that all curtains are, in fact, the same curtain, sewn from the same fabric. The curtain appears only so as to hide the thing behind or outside. (You never put a curtain up just to show how lovely it is or admire its folds.) So by saying ‘this curtain’ I am, all at once, drawing your attention not only to the fact that this particular curtain is worth looking at, but that you should be looking behind it, at the thing I am about to reveal.

Or perhaps that you should be looking at this particular form of hiding?