The People Behind the Mirror

By L. Shain

She stood in the dark, shadowed hallway, trying to look into her own mind, while she waited in the depths of the wispy night.  She wanted something to be wrong with her, to be crazy, to have a fever, to be something that would explain the way she felt.

Her head hung low as she walked, quietly as possible (not wanting to hear herself), to the bathroom. She picked up her fragile hand-held mirror and brought it so it was almost touching her pale face.  This is minutes from the end of her story, so let’s take a journey back to the beginning.

Adriane lived in a town that outsiders would have thought perished years ago because of the infinite gray dullness that seemed to loom atop the sky.

Her school was called “Mono Honor” meaning “honor one”. The school raised veritable Barbies and Kens, making everyone try to be the honorable one, the perfect one.

Electives included Plastic Surgery, Nip and Tuck Lessons, Implant classes, and Steroids 101.  The core classes were even more rigorous, but the final test took place in the school’s own parlor. This was when the students had to disprove their mediocrity by attempting to attract the rest of their peers as if they themselves were a Queen Bee (popular).

Down the little bees would fall into the abyss of the Queen Bee’s ego, only having a vague idea that they would never be an equal.

Adriane acted like a gibbering idiot during the test in the parlor.

She tried to plunge into people’s conversations, but in retaliation the groupies gave her a look of disgust that made Adriane move on to the next crowd thinking “Maybe this time they will think I am the honorable one!”

When Adriane got to her home she ignored her parents who were conjuring up a plan to make Adriane look more attractive.  She went straight to her immense sized bathroom where a litter of makeup, dyes, bleaches, skin care products, and anti-aging drugs sat on the counter.

She trembled as she picked up one of her hand held mirrors.  She stared at her eyes, her hair, her nose, her lips… nothing seemed to look good enough to her or to anyone else.

Her pores were not breathtaking, her eyes were not bright, she was a failure. This left her ravenous, wanting only to feel acceptance and attraction by everyone else.  The thought that scared her the most was that a popular person would succeed more in life than she ever would, even though she was good at so many other things.

The following years the structure of her confidence seemed to come crashing down.  The profusion of the popular students got narrowed down, for the “Honorable One” was soon to be picked.

“You know you’re ugly and you will never be what you want to be!” shouted one of the boys as she scurried down the hall.

Adriane tried so hard to be what everyone else was. Everyday she would come home to stare at here hand-held mirror for hours and hours.

She somehow felt that if she stared long enough she would see what was wrong with her.

One night she couldn’t fall asleep so she headed to the pitch-black hallway. She stood there feeling hopeless for hours until she finally went into the bathroom.  She picked up her mirror as if it was the Sun, and then brought the old hand-held mirror so close that it broke when it touched her face.

Shards of glass went into her gray eyes, blinding her forever more. Now she wouldn’t have to see how people judged her, but she couldn’t see how beautiful the rest of the world was.

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