The Wall of Guilt

Tom and Sharon had to share a dressing room, and that was fine, because they were good friends. After a performance, they would often take a long time to remove their makeup and talk.

“You once told me,” said Sharon, “That you dumped a girl to be with another woman. And that woman became your wife.”

“Yes,” Tom nodded calmly.

“So, don’t you feel at least a little guilty?”

“What makes you ask that?” he said.

“It’s just that I was wondering. Women often take the blame for things, even if it’s not their fault. They tell themselves, maybe it was me, maybe it’s something I did. But men. Men don’t do that, even if it was their fault.”

Tom turned to her for a second, and then got back to removing the makeup. He was rubbing his cheek gently with a cotton ball. Finally, he spoke calmly, “I was lucky enough that a beautiful young girl loved me. She was so tender and had such a good heart. Just like you. But I broke that heart. Of course I felt guilty. I still do sometimes. But I can’t just go around showing it.”

They were both quiet for a while.

“So maybe,” he said, “When you think a man is not taking the blame, it’s because he was brought up like that. But on the inside, he feels the same as you would.”

“Men are usually simpler than that. What’s on the inside, is also on the outside. Aren’t you a little… odd… because you’re an actor?”

“Men often claim they are simple. They do it to keep things simple. But life is never simple. Not really.”

Sharon put both her hands on the counter and looked at them for a while. Then she said with the widest smile ever seen on or off stage: “Only in fairy tales it is.”

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