You see Nina as a girl.  Maybe five.  At an outside birthday party.  Blowing out candles on a cake.  Time progression.  Time lapse.  Like seeing the brake lights of cars going over a bridge at night—seen like strobes—dots and then streams depending on the pause of the shutter.  Nina—growing—a girl, a teenager coming down the stairs, a woman.  You don’t see her body—growing—you see her face.  Her hair.  Maturing.  The eyes look different in each picture.  Each sketch filled in, and colored.


You think there’s a secret.  You sense hints of it as you lose your innocence.  Over time.  In those first relationships.  Their beginnings and end.  Their in between…  And then you think you know.  You have an awakening.  Usually after being hurt.  After feeling fooled and embarrassed.  After someone uses you as a tool.  The awakening an afterthought.  A musing on a reflection, a memory of something that happened to you.  And then you think you know.  You know the secret.  Like at first you weren’t really alive.  Just a database for the input—a subject for science fiction.  But you’re alive now.  You know the secret.  Like an animal cornered and killed and then brought to life again—remembering…  You know the secret and then you become the secret.  You become what you thought was secret, what you thought was kept from you.  And then you keep this secret from others.  You hide it.  Only revealing it in subtext.  The subtext in all your conversations with others—a constant and never-ending trip in and to what you thought was once real and what you now believe is real based on your awakening—your awakening to the secret…  It’s happened to me just like it’s happened to you.  We’re not that different—you and me.  Our origins are the same.  Our fears.  But only a few really know, or think they know for a time, before they too are sucked back into it—cornering animals just as they were once cornered.  Only a few know there is no secret.  No code.  No subtext.  No real reality other than this.  For the secret is the figment of our fears—and all of us know.  All of us are in on it together.  This the fallacy—the fault and phoniness in everything we compete for.  Trying to be heroes and fearing we are zeros.  The game no secret.  Playing it no secret.  Your awakening only falling asleep again.  A deeper sleep—a dream within a dream.  The inception into your real world a game you only play with yourself.  And only when you really wake up, and are done playing, do you finally realize you’re not alone.  You were never alone.  And you never will be…  You just have to stop.  You have to stop playing.  Stop hiding what you never knew to begin with.  Then your whistles will be true.  Then your hypocrisy becomes authentic hypocrisy.  And you realize the true genius of comedy.  And when you laugh, your laughter can bring tears…