Friday, 25 January 2008

Looking in the mirror

Shirley used to enjoy looking in the mirror. A lot. She had a knack for using it to feed her self-delusions. If she dieted even for just a day and if she approached the glass at a certain angle and with sufficient consciousness, it was inevitable that it would reflect a drastic change. Chin up, definitely not tilted downwards, shoulders back, not slumped, stomach heaved in, arms not be pressed against her sides, one leg slightly in front of the other and rotated gently to expose the long line of the inner thigh right down to the ankle and if possible, the toes should convey the appearance of being pointed. Then there was the hair. It didn’t have to be perfectly brushed but it shouldn’t have started to clump, frizz or become oily and if it was a parting day, it should be straight in a casual way, not as if it had been created with anything other than nonchalance. Any make-up should not have slid down the face and in particular, eyeliner should be slightly smudged but not smeared and should not have migrated into the corners of her eyes and mixed with sleep as she deemed this to be slovenly. Lashes were to remain separated. If lipstick should be apparent on the teeth this was bad, especially if it had worn away from the lips.
This self adoration took place for Shirley daily over a number of years until one day when she was swanning through the cosmetics department to see what was new. ‘Hey, you, over here’ called a voice. As she peered around the pillar she was startled to find herself face to face with a wrinkled old hag. Shirley sank to her knees, sobbing publicly. Her mascara ran freely into the cracks in the mirror.

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