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I stare into the mirror. The face that gazes back is atypical. Large, round blue eyes that twinkle ceaselessly and possess the depths of clear water are one of the primary features. A small yet proportioned nose rests in the middle of the face. Plump, sweet pink lips concealing perfect white teeth make up a mouth quick to smile. And all of this is framed by soft blonde curls framing a pale face with rosy cheeks.
Since I was born compliments were poured on me, all centering on physical attributes:
"She's such a darling and so beautiful, too!"
"She looks just like a doll I had when I was little!"
When you're showered enough with compliments enough, you begin to believe them. I tricked myself into seeing true perfection, inside and out. I was Venus and Virgin Mary combined and incarnate.
My fingers touch the cold, hard glass. They traverse the surface on their daily pilgrimage. Their purpose is to find the cracks in the glass, but as always they come how empty handed. The only thing they accomplish is distorting the image further. Reluctantly, I reach up to touch my face.
The accident happened two years ago. The force of the impact as the car collides with the tree that icy day propelled me through the window shield. The cuts the glass formed have faded to permanent white scars marring my face, making me resemble a doll that fell off the shelf and had to have her face glued back together. The twinkling in my eyes has become caused by tears instead of joy.
No longer do I receive compliments. Exclamations bearing the weight of pity fill the void they left.
“The poor dear!”
“The whole thing is so horrible!”
“How could this have happened to such a wonderful girl?”
“Such a loss! To think how beautiful she was!”
I suppose it’s some kind of karmic justice, the world getting back at me for thinking I was perfect. Now I know I’m not. And everyday I have to drive by the tree, which stands tall, proud, and unscratched, I am reminded of the sad truth, which tortures me every morning when the old call of the mirror lures me back to my old habits, even though I know I hate what I will see.