Girl in a Mirror

She looked in the mirror. Fifteen years old now, home from school, but needing to view what the others were seeing in her. They all claimed to see things she did not. So she looked.

Mirror mirror?

Sure enough, there was the dog. Cody Stineman told her she looked like a stupid dog almost daily; a dog stared back at her now. Stupid eyes peering out from a pale face, crooked teeth, white, but surely too crooked to be human. A stupid and ugly dog stared at her, its eyes somehow even more hurt than her own.

Her vision clouded for a moment. She felt the wetness on her cheek before she saw them. A small drip of tears on a dog’s face. She clenched her eyes shut, hoping the dog would be gone when she opened them again.

The dog was gone. She was now staring at an eagle. Wings spread wide and sharp eyes glaring in a most majestic way. This is what Coach Ainslow saw at practice just an hour ago. An eagle of a basketball player. She picked off two passes into the post and tipped a few more, resulting in Coach screaming that she was an eagle, sharp-eyed and ready to pounce. “Yeeeeeeahhhhhh,” he screamed in a very un-eaglelike way. “That’s you right there, an eagle. Yeeeaaaaahhhhh.”

“More like a gorilla.” She heard Megan Winters mumble that to some freshman girl, and when she looked over, they were staring at her, laughing and rolling their eyes.

Yes, there it was in the mirror. The gorilla, arms too long and body too tall, staring back at her blankly. Perhaps a gorilla is too dumb to know what is going on around it. It is a gorilla after all.

A pig appeared, quickly looking at her before it ran off. Some kid called her that when he got off the bus today, told her she was an ugly pig. She laughed at the time, but now, there was just a pig staring at her and the eyes were familiar.

Then a turtle. Small. Hiding in its shell but still feeling the rocks and sticks thrown at it.

A puppy now. No longer a dog, but a fearful puppy just wanting love and approval.

Then in the mirror was a gazelle. She liked that one. Her dad called her that every track season, told her she ran like a gazelle, fast and beautiful. It was at least kind, but it too disappeared, replaced by a spinning array of beasts and birds, more dogs, another gorilla, a cat, but all things moving so fast the mirror began to blur. She squeezed her eyes shut to stop the spinning.

And opened them to a blank mirror.

She lifted her fingers and outlined two eyes. Afraid at first, but she rubbed that part away and replaced them with soft eyes that stared at her curiously. Then cheeks, pale but healthy. And a nose and mouth, the mouth needing some adjustment to avoid the frown that first appeared. It was replaced by a slight smile. The teeth, crooked, but not that crooked at all, especially when flashed in a smile.

What did the man on YouTube say? That we create ourselves with the way we see ourselves? Our vision creates reality? Something like that. No matter. She smiled.

She wanted to be tall, fifteen, and a daddy’s girl that swatted balls out of the post. She was an eagle, a gazelle, but most of all, she was her. A regular girl that let silly things get inside her mirror for a moment.

Fifteen and very human, she smiled at the mirror, more a smile to herself, then went to find a basketball.

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