It was strange, but he only ever felt himself when he was in the mask; properly held in and divided from everything else. At other times, he could feel himself dissolving, bleeding out, until his dilute self filled the next protective carapace; be it car, house or public building. In the true, Great Outdoors, he was too widely distributed, spread out into infinity. In some way, it was as if his mass underwent some transformation, passed some tipping point from substance to insubstantial, as if he reached a certain spread and disappeared entirely. He needed a mask, a container.
He had wanted to make a mould of his face in plaster, then fill this with a thin coating of latex that could be gummily pulled out and worn, a perfect replica that would hide everything.
Then he heard about a girl in school, once, who got confused in a casting workshop and plunged her hands into a bucket of plaster, hoping to make their twin. The hot liquid seized and set around her, encasing her helplessly in a prison of school craft materials. She lost several fingers as a result.
The visceral claustrophobia of this story made him hesitant.
So, panels of latex were made, tiles that were sewn together with fishing wire. Latex, while cloudy, is not entirely opaque, though. And the overall aesthetic, the ragged scraps of fleshy panels, was perhaps a little macabre. Someone yelled Leatherface to him when he was choosing some carrots in the Supermarket.
At first he wore it everywhere, inside and outside. But then, remembering the inherent obsolescence of the material, he decided to limit its use. As long as it existed, he could exist. What would happen when it started to break down? When the taut plastic of the wire sewn along the joins would pull at the holes, enlarging, stretching,…