The Girl in The Mirror
It’s Complicated: Lit Up & The Writing Cooperative Contest
I could sit for hours and gaze at her. She never notices me cooped up in the corner of the room, staring from the shadows as she goes about her daily rituals.
In the morning, I watch as she glares at her own face, complaining about all the spots, wrinkles and other perceived imperfections. Sometimes she berates herself so much I want to put my hand on her shoulder and tell her how beautiful I think she is… but then she would know I am here. I watch as she paints her face with layer after layer of color. I watch as her beauty, her uniqueness, slowly starts to disappear behind a mask of makeup.
When she feels she is finally beautiful, her lips turn up in mock of a smile. She paints her lips crimson, telling her reflection, “This is as good as it will ever get.” I watch as she lets out a sigh and gets up to wander dejectedly into her closet.
My favorite time to watch her is at night. It is at night when I get to see her beauty unmasked. As she sits in front of her mirror again and removes each and every layer of makeup. One by one, with every pass of her face towel, another layer of color comes off revealing all her spots and wrinkles. It is now when I can truly see all the freckles dancing delicately over her cheek bones and across the bridge of her nose. The laughter lines gracing her face showcase the beauty of her smile and the melodic quality of her laugh. It is when all the makeup is gone that I can really gaze at the girl in the mirror. It is when all the makeup is gone that the girl I know is there, not the girl she is in public, around others who make her feel inferior just as she is. But the girl I know tells her reflection, “I will never be as pretty as all the other girls.”
Day after day, night after night, I gaze upon her from my cozy hiding place. She never sees me. She will never know. For her to know I was there would be terrible — I know I am committing a crime. But I can’t help myself. In the halls at school, I watch her from behind my locker door, but I never gaze as freely upon her as I do in the privacy of her room. In her room, it is just her and I. How I wish I could reach out and hold her hand while she cries.
I scooted into my cozy hiding place this morning ready to participate in our daily ritual. I waited and waited, her alarm went off once, twice, a third time. She never moved. I waited some more. And then some more. The sun started to pass overhead as the shadows rearranged themselves across the floor. I sat there in my cozy hiding area afraid to move a muscle. Finally, I moved slowly across the floor to where she lay on the bed. I gazed down at her, completely natural and unblemished by makeup. Her eyes were closed and a faint smile played across her lips as if she was lost in a dream world full of joy.
I gazed at her, afraid to disturb her slumber. I reached out to touch her cheek, to feel the porcelain skin, to touch freckles that graced her cheeks. I reached out and felt the cool skin, growing stiffer moment by moment. I stroked her cheek, down to her jawline, across the lips no longer crimson. I noticed the stillness that had settled over her frame and a tear came to my eye.
As I turned to scuttle back into my hiding place, I noticed the note on the desk. I glanced at it, skimming the words for confirmation of what I already knew. She had done it herself. She wanted to find peace away from the world she didn’t think loved her for herself. She grew tired of the mask she wore and didn’t wish to paint it anymore.
I crawled back into my cozy hidy place and sat hugging myself for a long while. I felt tears trickle down my cheeks as I recalled the feel of her cold skin. It was not as I had imagined it would feel, not as delicate, warm and soft. Nothing was as it appeared with my girl in the mirror. If only she had known she could be so much more.