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The Mirror's Image

By , Lester Prairie, MN
My eyes followed the scale needle as it sprang to life, shooting up through the numbers. My bare feet were pressed against it's cold surface and my arms were rapped tightly around my flat chest.

I held my breath as the dial swiveled for a few seconds then came to a stand still over the number eighty-one.

Eighty-one pounds.

Had I finally lost enough? Would I finally look more like a model with a perfect body?

My head spun around to the ceiling to floor mirror mounted on the lavender bathroom wall, inspecting my body over. I was immediately disappointed.

There was nothing special about me. I was shaped more like a fence post than a girl, with my flat chest and waist. Even though my hip bones stuck out inches from my stomach, I wasn't satisfied. Because I wasn't perfect. Not yet.

Maybe just a few more pounds.

My stomach jerked at the idea, and I glanced over at the toilet, wondering if I had any food left inside to give up. A bitter taste filled my mouth, and I gagged, bending over and placing my head between my knees.

I was debating whether to just try one more time, when someone rapped smartly on the bathroom door.

"Just a minute," I called out stepping off the scale and over to the sink. I rinsed my mouth out, dispelling the bitter taste, and unlocked the door, swinging it in ward to reveal my sister holding her toothbrush, a scowl etched along the lines of her tan forehead.

"Why on earth do you take so long in the bathroom?" she grumbled stepping past me to spread a layer of toothpaste on the bristles.

I shrugged, trying to look indignant and hurried to my room, ready to escape my sister's line of site. She, out of anyone, would be able to guess my secret. My eating disorder.

Then she would snitch, and I would never be perfect. I'd never be pretty.

I closed my bedroom door behind me and took a few steps toward a set of drawers next to my bed. My legs were shaking, but I managed to get across the room.

I slid the drawer open and pulled out a square mirror with a long blue handle. I held it up to my face, searching for the beauty I had lacked yesterday, and the day before that, and the week before last.

I couldn't find it.

My skin was pale and looked tear able, like paper. Two purple hail circles hung under my green eyes, which might be considered pretty, if even a spark of life floated inside them. My nose was too round, and my thin, blond hair too frizzy.

Even when I fixed myself up, adding eyeliner at just the right spots, and forcing a pink blush to rise from my cheeks, even then, I still wasn't perfect. I hadn't lost enough.

'Just a few more pounds,' I thought, decisively.

A week later, I stood once again on the scale in our bathroom. My legs and arms were involuntarily and uncontrollably shaking and my head felt dizzy.

The dial stopped on a number but it took me more than a minute to focus on the black print, my mind was so clouded.

By then I was too gone.

My lags gave beneath me and I fell onto the cold tile floor, my whole body shaking now. Just before I sank into unconsciousness, I focused on the scale dial. It hovered and swayed over a number as my body weight went limp.

Seventy-seven pounds.

'I'm still not beautiful,' I thought,'And I'll never be perfect.'

A single tear traced it's way down my sunken cheek.





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