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Watch Me Fall

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I touched the warmth of my face gingerly, inspecting the bluish-purple bruises under my eyes, stretching the delicate skin to see broken blood vessels highlighting the misery of my life. I looked down at the faux-marble counter and counted the makeup supplies littering the glassy surface, all products that would assist me in covering up my dismal mood. The door rattled as someone banged on it, and I called out my departure from the medium bathroom in fifteen minutes; a made-up number to satisfy the worried mother knocking on the door enough to leave me alone for a while longer.

I got to work with the creams and the powders, patting away at my skin until the purple no longer existed, then proceeded to press my fingers onto my skin delicately, trying to meld the semi-noticeable layer of product into my flesh, squeezing my eyes tightly together in response to the dull throbbing under my cheekbones and the pain that pulled behind the space of my eyes. The mirror was going to be the judge of my work.

But I opened my eyes t o stare at the same, worn-over version of me, the hair of the woman in the mirror not tied up into an elegant bun, but running down her back in a slightly-frizzy wave all the way to the middle of her thighs. The corners of her lips were turned down and streaks of ash-grey ran down her cheek, remnants of some meltdown the poor woman had.

“Go away, woman. I have no need of you,” my voice came out harsh, accusing the lady in the glass of something I was yet to come up with, some false charge that I would tattoo on her forehead the moment I felt like I need to take control of something.

She walked into the full-view mirror to my left, and out of my sight; I was aware of her presence, but was determined to brush it off, like avoiding the eyes of a terrible, bloodthirsty high school bully in hopes and prayers of him or her leaving me alone.

I pulled out my mascara and drew the wand out, reminding myself to clean off the end of it before swiping it through my right lashes one, two, three times, straightening myself up to bat the mile-long hairs and tug a fake smile onto my lips.

The woman was still staring at me.

As I leant forward and switched the wand to my left hand, a familiar knot congealed in my throat, making me sniff and swallow hard to shove it back down. The mascara trembled in my hand and I shakily brought the brush to my eyelashes, forcing myself to keep my eyes off the lady behind me.

She laughed.

“Go away!” I whispered harshly, my voice bouncing around the bathroom to sound like five people had said it, and spun around on my heels to be met with the shower curtain. My falsely healthy eyes blinked wildly and my pupils darted around the tiled floor, then the wallpapered walls, and the tiled shower, never resting on one object for more than a second as I shushed the screaming voices in my head to piece together what had happened.

“Are you okay?” Calm. Her lips never moved, yet she spoke.

“It’s not there.” Fear.

“What was that, darling?” Calm.

“You’re not here,” I mumbled, my back hunched, face down, and fists clenched at my sides.

“Zanib?” a hand on my shoulder.

“What?” Irritated.

My gaze snapped over to my shoulder, staring at the fluffy white of my blouse with eyes as wide as saucers, mind racing, tears threatening to spill from my brown orbs, and a scream threatening to rip from my throat. I swung back to the mirror so fast, my bun bounced once, twice, and then fell out of its bindings.

I stared at the woman.

“What do you want?” Confused.

“It’ll be okay,” Loving.

“What will?” Confused.

“You don’t have to lie. You see me just as I see you.” Loving.

“I don’t understand,” Confused.

“We’re all transparent, just like glass,” the woman extended her hand.

My arm rose to its own accord and my hand flattened against the glass.

Cold.

Comforting.

Clear.

Simple.

“Real,” the woman nodded, “I feel real.”

I nodded, my eyes focusing on something that was either far away or not there; perhaps both, perhaps at the same time.

“You are here.” Definite.

“And so are you.” Loving. “Just, not all the time.”

I touched her face, padding my fingers over her unnaturally smooth skin.

Cold.

I touched her shoulder, my hand trembling as tremors racked through me and hot saline fell, pitter patter, onto the floor.

Still cold.

This.
Is.
Not.
Me.

The woman in the mirror is.



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