The Woman Staring Back

March 24, 2009
By Lindsey DePue BRONZE, Saint Germain, Wisconsin
Lindsey DePue BRONZE, Saint Germain, Wisconsin
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

It was a cold winter morning when the sound of the morning alarm awoke April. She rolled over to push the old green alarm clock when she realized that she was running late, it was pushing seven o’clock when she normally got out of bed at around six thirty. April normally someone who is up and ready to go ten minutes a head of schedule, was a little surprised at herself actions this December morning. She laid in bed feeling completely beat and worn out, this she didn’t know why.

Minutes went by and she finally told herself that it was time to get up when she heard Mr. Johnson’s old beat up red ford go down the road. Everyday when Mr. Johnson would pass the house April would normally be up, dressed, and eating her favorite cereal, but not this morning. She finally found the motivation to sit up. She looked around her room for awhile. She reached over on the bedside table looking for her contact case, which sat right next to her green alarm clock every night. She reached and reached and finally her hands grasped something. Not realizing what exactly she had in her hand, she grabbed it anyways and laid them on the bed sheet in front of her. She looked closely and saw that they weren’t the contact case in which she was originally looking for they were glasses. Big, dark brown glasses, which had a little pink rose on one of the bows. In a rush, she put them on and figured they must be hers since she could see perfectly with them. She sat for a minute pondering about where her contacts went to. She knew that she sat them there when she took them off every night after she stopped watching the rerun of American Idol, which was a nightly routine for her. Oh well she thought to her self as she finally rolled her feet over the side of the bed.

As she rose to her feet she placed her hand on her back, as a sort of guide as she stood up. She stood there for a few seconds thinking why she did that. Then suddenly she started to feel an achy pain running up and down her spine. Maybe I slept wrong she thought. As she headed to open the big blue curtains which hid the sunlight every morning she was still bracing her back every step she took. April stood staring out the window seeing to her surprise there was a lot more snow on the ground then when she remembers when she went to bed. After looking at the sparkly new white snow she headed toward her bathroom to get ready for the new day.

She stumbled around her bathroom trying to find that darn light switch. Finally connecting with the switch, she grabbed her clothes which were all ready for her at the end of the bed. Every night April got her clothes out and laid them on the cedar chest at the end of her bed. While she was grabbing her things she noticed that it was now eight o’clock and that she was officially late for school. With a sigh and a half smile she grabbed her things and slowly walked back into the bathroom.

After taking longer then normal to get dressed she turned around to look at how she looks. She turned ever so slowly once again with her hand bracing her back the whole turn. She looked into the big gold mirror which was above her vanity. She stood completely still, staring at the mirror. Minutes go by and not a movement has been made by April. She was stunned, alarmed at what she saw. The girl she saw every day when she turned around to look at herself wasn’t the same girl, it was a woman today.

“This can’t be me,” she caught herself saying out loud. The girl, woman, was not at all the person it should be, April thought. April turned to look behind her to see if maybe someone was playing a joke or if there was some one else in her bathroom looking in the mirror. A little odd yes, but April was confused about this woman, that couldn’t be her. This woman staring back at her was old; she looked to be in her late seventies to early eighties. This woman has grey hair which looks to be fading into more white shade of hair. It was short, super short, and very curly, perm April guessed. April was completely fascinated by what she saw she continued to examine the old women in her mirror which looked back at her. The woman’s face looked worn out. It looked like it was pulled down. She had many divots or creases in her face, wrinkles. Her mouth was larger, her lips a bright red in color, with an even bright red lip liner. The women smiled her teeth were large, very white, and completely straight. They almost looked too big for her face. Her eyes were as blue as the summer sky. With no mascara on but a ton of bright purple colored eye shadow covering her whole saggy eye lid. Her nose was oh so very petite, just large enough to hold up those large brown glasses on her face.
The glasses, April took another closer look at the glasses which the old woman was wearing. They looked so familiar, like she had seen them some where before. April raised her hand ever so slowly to her face. She noticed that the old woman was doing exactly the same. April finally touched the glasses which were on her face, and with that so did the old women staring back at her. It clicked, those glasses those glasses are the one on my face. If those are the glasses on my face but yet she is wearing the same glasses, April continued to think to herself. Thinking it was just a coincident she slowly moved her hand back down to her side, once again realizing that the old woman was doing exactly the same. April now was completely confused about what was going on. She tried to figure more out. She looked at what the woman was wearing. She had a bright red button up sweater, which looked like something her grandma would have knitted her for Christmas. Underneath she had a pure white t-shirt which had a happy smiley snowman on the front. Her pants were black trousers, ironed to perfection. After staring at the old woman’s wardrobe for a few minutes she began to look down at what she had on seeing if there was any connection there at all. When she looked down she was in complete shock. It was the same outfit. The same exact thing, from the red Christmas knitted sweater all the way down to the ironed black pants. She looked up quickly at the woman, who was still staring right back at her and following her every move.
April decided to walk away from the mirror that maybe she was just seeing things, maybe if she walks away so will the woman but when she returns the woman will not. April walked at a faster pace to her bedside. She decided to lay down for a couple of minutes rest. She was already running extremely late for school, what a couple more minutes would hurt. April begins to close her eyes ever so slowly, and before she knew it she was sleeping snoring like an old man.
She jerked awake and sat straight up, she looked at the clock which now said four o’clock. Thinking it to be a little funny began to laugh at what just took place. She started to ease herself back down and turn on her favorite soap when she remembered the woman. She remembered how weird it was to see that old wrinkly woman staring back at her. Hoping that the women would be gone now and that it was just a dream or something, she hurried into the bathroom to see what awaited her. She had her back to the mirror, slowly deciding to turn around to see what she would see. It was the old woman, the same woman that April saw that morning. She didn’t go away like April hoped. April began to be upset; she wanted to know what was going on right that instant. So with a little hesitation she walked closer and closer to the mirror and the woman. April began to raise her hand as she kept inching closer to the mirror. Suddenly her hand touched the mirror and to her complete surprise the woman’s hand was touching her hand back, as a sort of mirror image. The women stood there holding their hands against one another for a few minutes. April suddenly pulls her hand away from the mirror, and so did the woman.
“That’s me,” April softly says out loud, “but that can’t be me. It just can’t. I don’t look like that. I don’t look like that at all!” Her head fell into her hands as tears began to form in the crest of her eyes. April was completely devastated at what she just figured out, that old woman with the curly hair and snowman shirt was her. It was completely and one hundred percent April. April was very confused, now more then ever, at what was going on. She didn’t remember herself every looking like that woman that was currently looking back at her. After a few minutes of tears and staring into the mirror shaking her head no she decided to head out to the kitchen to make herself some food since she had not made it out there all day.
After a ham, cheese, and butter sandwich and an episode of Clean My House, she decided to head back into her room. When she entered the room she saw an outfit lying out on her cedar chest. She was confused at how it got there since she didn’t remember ever putting it there herself or ever seeing the outfit. She decided to try it on, just for fun and that there was nothing better for her to do she thought to herself as she grabbed the nice long blue sparkly dress from the end of her bed. It fit her to a T. She absolutely loved it. It was gorgeous. She looked at herself in the mirror, and still the woman was staring right back at her but now with the blue sparkly dress on. Unlike now that didn’t matter to her. She was okay with the woman in the mirror and in some ways she was starting to like the new woman she saw. Ring ring, her house phone went, she had a call. She hurried around to find the phone.
She was surprised to hear what the nice gentlemen on the other end had to say. He told her that the car to pick her up would be there in five minutes, that they were running a little late on their routes. April had no idea what was going on, but she hurried and got ready. She kept the blue dress on thinking maybe she was supposed to be wearing it, she grabbed her purse and headed for the door.
After a short ride she arrived at her school. She was surprised that this is where she was going since she already obviously missed school that day. When she slowly and achy got out of the car she looked at the big brick building which read Monty High in big bold letters. This was her school all right, but why was she hear. Then a big banner with a light shining on it caught her attention. The banner said, “Welcome back class of 1939!” The car driver asked if she would like help walking in since it was very snowy and icy that night, but April politely refused the help and said that she could make it inside on her own. April stood outside staring at the big banner. She read it over and over plenty of times. Suddenly, the reality of life all sunk in.
After a long night of dancing and mingling with friends that she had not seen in years, she headed for home. That night as she lay in bed she realized that she wasn’t the same girl she thought she was. She wasn’t that seventeen year old, blonde haired, tall and skinny girl with a whole life ahead of her that she once remembered. She was now eighty eight, and an old woman who didn’t have much life ahead of her. This morning she wasn’t okay with that, but now as she lies in her bed she realizes that aging apart of life, and that even to her dismay she had to. And that maybe being that woman that was staring back at her, wasn’t that bad of a life after all.

The author's comments:
Everyday at the beginging of my Creative Writing class, my teacher, Mr. Strong, would put a prompt up on the board. The prompts would consist of anything, from what's on your mind, to if you found a twenty dollar bill how would you spend it. After reading the prompt we were then given around ten to fifteen minutes to branch off of that prompt. One day we got a prompt which read, "You wake up and look in the mirror. The face staring back at you is different then you remember." We were then asigned to make that short paragraph writing into a complete stroy. Therefor my piece The Woman Staring Back is one days prompt expanded into a complete piece.

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