Mirror, Mirror

Blue eyes, bluest of all blue eyes, caught her attention as she stared at the woman ahead of her. The windows to the soul were shuttered by long, dark lashes and little lines fanned out from the corners. Wasn’t hard to imagine them twinkling with laughter or tearing up in rage and sadness. Kind eyes, usually, but they had superpowers too – the power to see through lies and walls erected in self defense.

At first glance, her hair was brown. Second and third glances showed streaks of honey, copper, and grey. Thinner than the full-bodied bob suggested, not as glossy as many other fancy ‘do’s. The bangs over her eyes were a shade too long, but they did a decent job of hiding the lines and creases on the forehead.

She continued to study the woman ahead of her, her gaze travelling over the slightly upturned nose, the thin lips, the hint of the start of sagging skin. The woman imagined what a surgeon could do to erase those tell-tale signs of age, would she be happier?

She frowned at the other woman’s black dress. Black was supposed to slim, hide flaws, but this black dress wasn’t hiding a multitude of sins well. As she stared, her attention went to the breasts, envisioned the industrial bra that tried to make her breasts look perky instead of gravity plagued. At the risk of being rude, she narrowed her eyes and confirmed what she’d suspected. The tummy the woman had attempted to hide beneath expensive tummy-taming underwear and control top pantyhose was still visible, still highlighted by the loose dress.

The skirt ended at the knees, hiding what the woman knew would be flabby thighs. The low-heeled pumps she wore did little to hide the slightly thick ankles. As her gaze traveled back to the other woman’s face, a sound startled her.

“I wish you could see yourself as I do.”

She turned her gaze from the other woman and peered at the man behind her. “I did. For a long time, I did. But now, I have to see with my eyes.”

They stared at one another for long seconds, her heart squeezing, her eyes filling with tears. With the saddest of smiles, the tiniest of nods, he closed his eyes when she did. When she opened her eyes again, he was gone. She turned back to the other woman staring back at her. The other woman’s eyes were wet, too.

There was a rustle behind her, and she whirled from the mirror, her hand shaking over her pounding heart. Disappointment flickered when she saw her mother and father standing in the door.

“It’s almost time, honey.” Her father cleared his throat, his blue eyes full of emotion.

She nodded. “I’ll be right there.”

She heard her parents shuffling down the hall to the stairs. She waited until she heard them reach the bottom before turning back to the mirror she’d used every day of her life until she’d married, left home. Peering at her reflection, she saw herself again, this time with the handsome man she’d loved with all she was. She was young, vibrant, alive. Happy. She watched him squeeze her shoulder and she put her hand on her own, wishing, hoping, dreaming. She willed her mind to take a photograph.

She turned her back on the couple behind her. How she wished he were here, or she was there. How she wished she was dressed up for a party, not to say the final good-bye. Every step she took weighed her down until she felt a hundred years older and as many pounds heavier.

“Love never dies,” his voice whispered into the silence as she felt her way from the room, unable to see because of the tears. A sudden light breeze, the faintest whiff of cologne, and when she turned back, the mirror reflected an empty room.