The Duel

April 2, 2008
By Elizabeth Helpling, Cincinnati, OH

I grasped the handle of the sharp glass sword and lifted it to my gaze. My eyes flicked to those of my opponent, who stood just beyond my reach, her glimmering eyes dancing and daring. Her smile had a mocking edge to it, her stance was catty and poised and perfect. My own smile trembled with doubts and my feet shook with worrisome fears.
I shouted and leaped toward her, to be met by air as the waif flitted away from my hungry blade. She snickered and shouted words to me that might be a compliment by some, but from her, they were the deepest insults imaginable. She taunted me with flicks of her hair, backward glances, and bubbles in her carefree laugh.
I roared with a rage I didn’t quite feel and ran towards her. She waited until I could see my sword reflected in her eyes, and then her legs danced away from me as her voice scorned my attempts at a duel.
I lunged and she parried, I thrust and she moved, I threw all my hate and anger into my wrist and arm and flicked and slashed and cut...the air. She was a fairy, dodging all my attempts to destroy her.
I stopped, panting, my arms exhausted, my lungs burning. She stood at a distance, watching me with her head cocked to one side, wondering why the fun had ended. I laid the sword on the ground and stepped back, nodding my surrender to her.
It’s hard to defeat my worst nightmare when she lives in my mirror.

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