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The Woman who Mimics

April 22, 2012

Unflinching, I stare her down. Sometimes, I am overwhelmed by her unique beauty. Her pursed lips, her big brown eyes, her button nose, they all seem to complement each other. Her face relaxes and she smiles as though her problems have become someone else’s problems. This person, in front of me, seems to have a carefree life.

I look harder; I bore myself into the eyes of the person staring back at me. I see her mouth moving and I make out the words. “When you look at me, what do you see?” Suddenly, I hear myself having a conversation with this woman. I see a strong woman, a determined one; this young woman doesn’t like to make mistakes. Her eyes tell a story of their own. Her eyes, oh how they sparkle, boasting of big hopes and dreams. Her lips curl up at the edges, parting their ways to reveal a mouthful of pearly whites. The light crinkles at the sides of her eyes tell me that she is genuine.

Her lips begin to move and suddenly I hear her laughter. It surrounds me, engulfs me, and I am overwhelmed with happiness. For a minute, we stand there laughing at ourselves. Tears of happiness sweep down my cheeks and I wipe them away. I see that she does the same. I hear her thoughts and I feel content. I sit there, cross-legged, wondering how I could introduce my new friend to the world. I reach out to touch her, to make sure that she is real.

I see that she does the same.

When her palm presses against mine, I cannot feel her warm human touch. I can feel my eyebrows beginning to furrow into an arch; the thoughts in my mind are tangled, and I am confused. I look up at her and I see that she feels the same way. I reach out to touch her again but this time my hand stops short. I focus my eyes like a camera zooming in on its target. I tilt my head and I find myself tapping a surface, a glass surface. I take a step back and repeat the whole process. I peer incredulously at the image that presents itself to me. My gaze falls; I shift my weight from one foot to the other.

I am faced with a dilemma.

This woman who I have been conversing with, is she merely a mirage? Perhaps, she is a figment of my imagination, the version of myself that I have always wanted to know. I begin to walk away, but something in the back of my mind tells me to go back.

So I go back.

This time though, I stare with even more determination to understand this woman who stares back at me. But alas, I tire out and my eyes relax. I throw my head back and laugh at my own silliness. I feel like a child, a baby who is amazed when she first sees her own reflection.

Bent double, I let out a sigh of relief. This woman in the mirror, I have no competition with her. She is me and I am her. I gather myself up and smile at my reflection.

I stand and strike a pose for the mirror.

Who’s looking? (Certainly not the world.)

(No.) The person looking back at me is me.

Just me.

And I smile to myself; wink, smile, blow air kisses, the whole mixture and jazz.

And then I look at myself one last time.

I tell myself that I am beautiful.

And there is no other creature on this planet that is like me.

And I ask myself, “Why would I ever want to be anyone else, but me?”

And I turn around, flick my hair over my shoulders.

I walk away from the mirror.

I look back, but only once.

And I smile at myself one more time.

Because I know, I am beautiful.

Right then and there, I promised the woman staring back at me that I would take every opportunity to introduce her to the world.

I turn around and wave.

And as I walk away, all that is heard is the clattering of her heels.

** This piece was published in the Young Voices 2011 Magazine. It can be found at any Toronto Public Library Branch.

Cover of Young Voices Magazine 2011

My piece called, "The Woman who Mimics".

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