The kitchen in my apartment has a small balcony.
It's at the north side.
We never sit there. The few square meters are empty.
Except for the mask.
The face, made of a light sort of plaster.
A death mask.
It's me. It's my face as it was in 1974.
It used to be all white, with clear lines and shapes.
It even showed a few '74 pimples for many years.
Death masks were cool. I wanted to have one too.
A friend, whose name I don't remember, made mine.
An other friend assisted him.

We three lived together in the same building.
On a Saturday morning, during coffee, the work started.
I was lying on the table with a rolled piece of paper in each nostril.
Joints for breathing.
- Ready ?
- Ready !

Carefully my friend started to cover my face with a thin white clay layer.
A second one, third one, four, five, more and more.
He warned when he was going to shut my mouth.
- Don't worry. You still can breath. But don't move your head.
It scared me.
I searched for my other friend's hand.
He gave me some paper and a pencil.
- Write if you need something.
I wanted to scream, wanted to speak but I only could scribble.
- Speak to me !
- Are you afraid ?
- Don't laugh !
- We're here.

It was the dark that frightened me.
The intense absorbing black darkness.
What if I would open my eyes ?
Would that be painful ?
Would I be blind right away?
Stop it !
But, what if ?
Stop thinking, you idiot!
Get out of your worrying mind, lie still and just wait !

As with the names of my friends, I don't remember how long it all took.
But I do remember I was so disappointed.
I looked at the mask and thought: That is all ?
Now I knew how I'd look like when ~~
Now I knew how I looked like while sleeping.
So, what is the point ?

I always wanted to get rid of my mask.
But I never did like the idea to destroy it or to throw it away.
I always kept it on the highest shelf or in a box or a closet.
Never showed it to anyone.
Now I'm in this apartment and years ago I placed the face on the balcony.
The wind, rain, frost and snow take care of it now.
I have a hole in my head.
My nose is green, my mouth completely gone and moss is growing out of the right temple.

I lose my mask every day a little more.