I’ve been thinking about
How they say that
Water and oil don’t mix.
I suppose that that is true,
For I studied the property of their densities
When I was still in middle school.
But, I have also observed how oil and water
Pool with each other
In the gutter, off the curb, near my house.
The oil rests on the top of the water,
Flowing in rainbow-colored, kaleidoscoped patterns
As the water moves underneath.
So, maybe they don’t mix, exactly,
But one still impacts and affects the other.
They still function in tandem–flowing together, altering each other.
The oil influences the water’s appearance and purity,
The water takes the oil to places
It could never travel alone.
(Because of the densities)
They remain…separate. And layered.
These two elements are the metaphor I found
To help me realize why
I sometimes feel less-than-truthful in passing moments of small talk inquiries.
“How’s your job?”
“How’s it been going since the breakup?”
“How’s the family?”
Of course the most socially acceptable answer is,
“Why everything is fine, thank you,”
And I acknowledge that that has its place.
The underlying pain or concerns
Cannot always be addressed, I know.
Not every listener has the compassion. Not every listener has the emotional strength.
And even relaying pure hardship isn’t fully honest–
For each of us also assuredly experiences moments
When the sun shines brightly through dark, stormy clouds.
How are we supposed to accurately
Become people of integrity and truthfulness?
How, then, are we supposed to be fully vulnerable?
Maybe it is impossible, then,
To share in complete and brutal honesty
When the ugly and the beautiful layer upon each other, forever contrasted.
I sure don’t know how to properly navigate. So, many times, I just say
“Fine, thank you,”
As is expected.
Maybe that’s why they say that
Oil and water