I awoke in a room full of mirrors. Each one unique in its own way. Different sizes, random shapes, and every color frame possible were exhibited in this room.
Everything about this situation, this room, these circumstances… It all struck me as familiar; which was an obscene thought considering I’d never been here before. My eyes had never seen this place, never caught my own reflection in one of these mirrors before.
The chair I sat in, the only one present, was uncomfortable. Straight-backed, my hands in my lap… I found it unusual. I never sat up straight. I never folded my hands… Especially after just waking up. No one does.
As I stood, I took it in. In front of me, I could piece together my reflection in several different mirrors. This girl before me was average. About 5’5, 120 lbs… Average. Brown hair and matching eyes that were nothing special were featured in a diamond shaped mirror with an extravagant sage border. The dark, plain eyes looking back at me gave no hint as to which emotion it was feeling. The serious mouth that, even when happy, could be mistaken for a frown or smirk was displayed in a wide oval mirror that lacked a frame.
My eyes examined and criticized what they saw.
A long neck outlined by drooping shoulders… A waist that had the potential for an hour-glass figure but never would be… Hips that were neither too large nor nonexistent… Not-too-long legs, once described as a dancer’s legs, although I’d never pursued any athletic activities after middle-school… Feet that angled inward, a sign of an introverted personality... A common teenage girl.
My eyes were burning at the criticisms running through my head. The eyes in the mirror welled up with a trace of emotion.
Why? I’m not even that self-absorbed that I would compare myself to another. I’m not even that unintelligent to think it would matter. So why? Why did this happen as I looked in the mirrors?
I turned away, only to find myself looking in another mirror behind me. No matter where I turned, there was no escape from this figure. No escape from the harsh reality that I was human and would never impact anyone or anything in a significant way.
I closed my eyes, just wishing for an escape from this hellish place.
I found my eyelids opening of their own accord and my eyes staring at the likeness in front of me. I turned away, but remembered there was no turning from it. No turning from the truth, you might say.
Suddenly, I noticed something… This girl, this imitation of myself in the mirror… wasn’t me. I walked up to a black-bordered full-length mirror in front of me and, on closer inspection, found flaws in this shadowy replication:
My reflection did not wear the same curious expression that I imagined I would right now. I squinted my eyes in confusion… but the reflection did not. My eyes widened in shock… but of course, the reflection did not.
I tested this newfound peculiarity by making ridiculous faces akin to an infant, angry faces similar to an enraged gorilla… but, to my embarrassment, the reflection just stood… watching with emotion-less eyes.
I stepped back.
It stepped forward, literally, stepped forward. As in, out of the mirror.
I could feel my jaw drop. My voice failed me as I tried to stammer some sort of syllable, something to break this unbearable silence.
In the end, she did it for me. “Are you surprised?”
I stuttered and opened and closed my mouth with no response. I nodded dumbfounded.
“Are you scared?” She advanced.
I felt myself taking involuntary steps backwards. I felt myself retreating from this intimidating manifestation of myself.
I stumbled over the chair as I walked back. It tipped over, clattering to the side. I fell back, scrambling away from her.
Her face… It was so cold, so… full of hatred. Those dark eyes were enough to paralyze me. She stood over me, her intent so apparent it was already killing me.
“W-Why are you doing this? What do you want from me?” My hoarse voice come out in a frantic screech.
She stopped, still as first-snow. “You have a life. You are able to laugh and run and smile. You are able to enjoy what you are given, and yet you choose not to. You are so consumed with hate for yourself, so obsessed with destroying your confidence and self-image that you have abandoned your spirit. This is why. I intend to make better use of this body, this mind, and this life than you ever could.”
I sat, unable to move. So shocked at the truth of what she said that I didn’t even realize her taking my hand and pulling me to my feet. The truth immobilized me, holding me there with the firmness of a reprimand, with the gentleness of a mother embracing her newborn.
As she took my hand and led me to a full length mirror, it was as if I no longer had control of my limbs, my mind. The only thing urging me to move was her grasp on my arm, guiding me.
This mirror stood out from the rest as I gazed into its depths. Its smooth surface denied me clarity for my predicament. Its frame was sparkling crystal that looped and swirled like a ballerina. And as I looked into that mirror, the last time I would look into any mirror, I realized… I really was beautiful.
My divergent self placed me in front of the mirror and gave me a gentle nudge. I felt my feet move on their own, stepping into the mirror.
Inside the mirror, I turned to face myself; the self that was on the outside, with the living. She was breathtaking, standing there. She looked me up and down with a smile.
She turned. And as she did, when we locked eyes, every emotion we felt passed between us; my longing, my unhappiness, my fear and questioning as opposed to her joy, her satisfaction, her pleasure at being alive…
She turned from the reflection and walked away. But I could see her. I could see her as she walked, because I was doing the same thing. I walked alongside her, and yet I was not her, I was not with the existing. I took every painful step next to her as she walked to the far wall and opened a door, a door that had been hidden from me.
All I could do was watch and imitate as she took her place in the world among the living.