So after my last post, I saw a poem, called Shards of Delusion, on the Reader thing WordPress has. The poem’s stanza about “sights of/false belief/deceptions of/truth” and the accompanying photo of a shattered mirror speak to this story. When I saw the photo, the last poem in this story immediately sprung to mind (which is impressive because I’m not usually poetically minded). Not gonna lie, I wrote this entire story just to be able to use that poem. Although with the story as minimal as it is, I kind of feel like I’m playing on stereotypes… Whatever, it’s worth it to use that poem. Enjoy!
Rae-Lynn flung the curtain off of her wall mirror. She glared at her plain jane reflection in the oval pane.
No more of this. If I’m going to be somebody one day, I have to be someone now.
She emptied the contents of her shopping bag onto her desk. Mascara, blush, an eye lash curler, more shades of lipstick than there were colors in the rainbow. She bit her lip, her heart trembling. Without her mother around to teach her about the girly things in life, Rae-Lynn was on her own and up to now she’d barely been passing as a member of the fairer sex. Well, she was tired of barely passing.
Mom, I know you told me this was only for emergencies Rae-Lynn looked up to the heavens where she knew her mother was smiling down at her. Please understand this is an emergency. I know you see how the other girls treat me, like I’m nothing. Like I’m less than nothing. How the boys call me a dog and bark at me when I walk down the hall. How the teachers look through me. This will make things better. I promise, once I learn how to be beautiful on my own, I’ll stop.
Rae-Lynn took a deep breath and looked straight at the mirror.
Mirror, mirror on the wall
Show me beauty loved by all
The right half of Rae-Lynn’s reflection began to warp. She gasped. Staring back at her was a face split down the middle. To the left: the pasty skinned, saggy eyed, pizza face she recognized. To the right: a beauty queen worthy of undying adoration. The face was still hers, but it was done up, beautified, made respectable. Rae-Lynn grabbed at the pieces of make-up she’d need to make the false reflection a reality. With the right side as her guide, she sculpted her face into the beauty the mirror promised her.
Rae-Lynn sat at her vanity, trying to decide if she wanted to paint her manicured nails Hawaiian orchid or Koala Bear-y. She looked up at the mirror and smiled. Every things was perfection. Her eyes: sultry and smoking. Her hair: effortlessly tussled. Her lips: pert and luscious. She pressed her lips together and jutted them into a pout.
“Rae-Lynn, I’m talking to you.”
She whipped around. Her father stood in her doorway
“Sorry, Daddy, I didn’t hear you.”
He exhaled, his nostrils flaring. In a calm voice he said, “You need to set up for dinner.”
“I thought Cassie was doing that.”
“Your sister is cooking, so you set up for dinner.”
“Don’t ‘But Daddy’ me. Come down and set up.” He started to turn around but thought better. He walked over to Rae-Lynn’s vanity. She instinctively reached for the curtain to cover the mirror but relaxed when she saw his downtrodden expression.
“Rae-Lynn, I’m really trying here,” he sighed. “I know things have been tough without your mom, and I know I’m not a replacement but… Honey, I’m concerned about this new you.”
“But why, Daddy, I’m really happy.”
“The way you dress now, the way you act, your friends… It’s like your not my little girl anymore.”
“It’s fine, Daddy. Little girls grow up.”
He looked like he wanted to say more but again thought better. Rae-Lynn was left alone with her mirror. From its quicksilver surface she heard it hiss.
Little girl, once such a bore
Sold her soul, became a whore
Rae-Lynn’s eyes bugged out as she seethed.
“What do you know?” she hissed. “You never leave my room.”
God forbid Dad sees the harm
That you do to your own arm
Rae-Lynn immediately covered the inside of her left elbow.
“It was only the one time,” she stammered. She could see the track marks. Whatever make-up she applied wouldn’t cover them for long. It wiped off no matter how little she moved her arm. “Lisa was just being stupid. We’re not going to try it again.”
What starts small soon escalates
‘Til your death they celebrate
“What?!” Rae-Lynn jumped up. “Who would celebrate my death? After all the hard work I put into becoming a better me… I can do more. I can be even better.”
She sat back down, straightened her back and focused on the mirror.
Mirror, mirror on the wall
Show me one desired by all
Rae-Lynn’s reflection began to change. She smiled and set to work, creating the perfect her.
“Rae, are you in here?”
Rae-Lynn shot up off her bed. Tear stains streaked her face, creating rivers of supposedly waterproof make up down her flawless skin. She trembled, the hospital bracelet on her arm shuddering ominously. Cassie stepped into her room but kept her distance. At first, Rae-Lynn tried to cover her face but gave up and sobbed into her hands.
“I’m glad you’re out of the hospital… I guess,” Cassie murmured.
“You guess? You guess?! What the fuck does that mean?!”
Cassie looked over at her sister’s mirror, her own plain reflection looking back. Her eyes were mourning the sister she had lost long ago.
“Means I guess I expected this.”
Rae-Lynn choked out sounds that weren’t really words. She could barely breath. Cassie stared at her feet.
“You changed, Rae. You stopped caring about the things that used to be important to you, and started caring about…”
“About what? About trying to make people happy? About trying to be a better person?”
“Bullshit,” Cassie shouted, glaring at her sister. Rae-Lynn was silent. “Making other people happy? What about making Dad happy? What about making me happy? What about making yourself happy, Rae? Do you really think you’re a better person? You’re a terrible person now!”
“How can you say that to me,” Rae-Lynn sobbed. “I just got out of the hospital.”
“Well, I wish–I wish you hadn’t gotten hurt.” Cassie looked away, failing to hold back her own tears. “But I wasn’t surprised when I heard you were there. People who don’t even care about themselves don’t have happy lives.”
Cassie stalked out of the room. Rae-Lynn sat on her bed in the darkness of her room. Eventually she found herself lying on the comforter. No one bothered to call her for dinner. She didn’t think she could stomach food anyway. Once her tear ducts were drained and the sting of her sister’s words had subsided, she forced herself up. She glared at the mirror as she approached it.
Mirror, mirror, on the wall
How I wish that you would fall
Silver shards across the floor
Two-faced lies shall be no more
My esteem I will control
Free from your spell, you glass-hole.
The hospital bracelet clattered as Rae-Lynn grabbed the mirror frame. With all her strength, she ripped it from the wall.