5…4…3…2…1… Click. I exhale and look at the blank wall before me. My soon to be canvas. Five clicks to go.
I like to frequent the mirror store in town. And by mirror store I actually mean a store that sells mirrors that is ironically named Mirror Store. When I was little and we first moved here, mom would make a stop there once or twice a month. I always begged her to take me. To me, back then , the mirror store was a funhouse. All the different shapes and sizes of mirrors, none of them ever distorted what I looked like, but to me they were still fascinating. Especially when two mirrors faced each other and there were infinite copies of myself stretching on for eternity. My eyes would light up when the farthest me I could see would wave in sync with my hand. However, my favorite part of this experience was when I would find the mirrors with cracks in them. Whether they had been set down too abruptly or something bumped into them, it didn’t matter, the cracks were the most fascinating part of this store. They eventually designated a whole section to cracked or imperfect mirrors and I would find myself sneaking away from my mother in order to wonder through the hall of broken mirrors.
However, I don’t frequent the mirror store for the enjoyment I get of seeing my own reflection anymore. I go here in order to ensure myself I’m still who I am. Seeing myself wandering through the aisles of mirrors reassures me i am still who I was yesterday and the day I was born. And I smile knowing I haven’t changed much from the last time I was here. And I stay away from the cobweb covered back corner of the store where the broken mirrors are because I do not want to be reminded of how broken and different I feel.
There’s a scar on the right side of her face where the crease of her lips stops and her rose colored cheeks begin. That white line stands out on her beautiful face like a crack on a porcelain doll. Her almost perfect figure is defected by one simple flaw. From the left, she’s a hurricane of pure beauty and the epitome of happiness, but the right paints a fragile figurine ready to break at the slightest of touch. If you ask, she will gingerly laugh and tell you “from the edges of the Popsicles she ate as a kid,” or that she was “once so happy she smiled until her mouth broke.” But for a tiny moment between the question and the answer you might just catch a glimpse of fear in her eyes.
Her hair was a mixture of reds that resembled the more vibrant trees in autumn just before they lose their leaves. Her hair was cut like something straight from a comic book. Long on the sides and shorter in the back. The longest strands covered her ears and fell to her shoulders. Her nose was rounded to match the pudge of her cheeks. Her face wasn’t fat but childlike and enticing. One that you wanted to kiss but only at the right times for the right amount of time. Not too long as to overstay your welcome, but not to short that she might feel unwanted. Her body spoke a different language than her face. In her face alone she was cute, but in her body she was a beautiful young woman. Her curves were steep but smooth and demanded to be touched. But the clothes that wrapped up her skin kept those curves a secret. Her jeans clung to her legs tighter than an infant to it’s mother teet. The only mystery they left was what the tone of her flesh appeared to be under her painted on jeans. Her shirts the same; tight enough to see it all but still desire so much more. But the jackets she wore hid what was to be seen. She was a hormonal boys worst nightmare and wildest dream. Young or old, we all swooned for her. Old men would push up on their canes, straighten their posture, and puff out their chess hoping to get just a glance out of her. The younger boys would slouch more, sigh louder, and flip their hair aggressively hoping for the same. A gentle breeze through her hair to get a wif of her perfume, a glance to see those dazzling eyes, or a smile to stop your heart momentarily. These are the thrills boys seek when in the presence of That Girl.
We were kids
We only cried when we didn’t get the blue Popsicle because blue was the best
And our moms couldn’t take us out in public because she was embarrassed by the dirt on our face
We had no idea what we wanted to be but that’s ok because we had all the time in the world
And our moms tucked us in at night to let us know we were safe
But even when she left we wished she had never gone
We were teens
And now we cry over movies and funerals
And when a boy or a girl rips the heart strings from our chest
And our moms buy us medicine because she is too embarrassed by the acne on our faces and the scars on our hearts
We still don’t know what we want to be but we have to hurry because we only have a few years left
And our moms rarely tuck us in at night so we don’t feel safe
And you wonder where has the time gone
We were adults
And now we don’t cry over anything anymore
Because there are no tears left
And our moms are too embarrassed because we wanted to be an artist or a writer
But writers don’t make much money so we have to be someone we don’t like
We only get phone calls from our moms on holidays and you never feel quite as safe as you ever did when she tucked you in
And all the while you wish you were gone
We are dead
And there is no more pain
And we don’t cry
No one is embarrassed to have known the dead
We no longer have to be anything
We are tucked into a box for the last time
And now everyone else cries because we are gone