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Short Story 37

Her Two Faces



She looked into the mirror and saw another person. It was that face, her face. The one she had created and manufactured. This was a different person from herself. Everything about her. What she ate, what she wore. This was not a person. It was an image. Something unreal, an opaque shield she had developed to manipulate and deceive. It had worked. How it had worked. It was amazing how many people flocked to her and idolized the unreal.


Taking a facial swab she dampened it with micro water and began to scrub off the mask she had become so skillful at painting. The delicate hidden skin revealed itself. The pale threads of the person she didn’t really know anymore began to show themselves. The silken remnants of the faded person she no longer related to, the one that made her feel vulnerable and faded.


There before the mirror the other person stared back. The mask was gone, only she remained. Empty and dull. Flesh devoid of natural color. Left the blank slate of that other form waiting for the fresh paint that would be spread across it not too long from now.


The hands pulled away the hair, the last vail of untruth, binding it away in a thick band out of place and messy. She was tired. Very tired. If she was honest with herself that mask, those things were exhausting to maintain. To keep up. To continue the pretense was exhausting. But it was a welcome exhaustion. A welcome diversion from that more vulnerable person she was slowly suffocating out of existence.


This person she now saw was what was real. It was her and there was a part of her that hated herself for it, but also felt relieved. Leaving the bathroom, she went to the kitchen and started a pot of hot water.


Everyone had a day off. This was hers. She would eat ramen and relax on the couch. Watch an old movie and go to sleep early. She would, for a brief moment, be what had made sense not too long ago. Be the her that was now only a small reflection, a small reverberating ripple in the river that was her new life, her new self. She would relax and forget. Until one day she no longer could anymore. When that day came she would return to that mirror and taking brush in hand she would disappear, yet again, behind that mask and become that other person. The one that had people flock to them. The one that got all the accolades. The one that intoxicated her until she was so drunk on them. She was sick of them. The vicious cycle would be prolonged, going on a never-ending carousel until the day she forgot who she was all together and couldn’t find herself again.



End



Thank you so much for reading everyone!!



Prompt Sentence: She looked into the mirror and saw another person.


Word Count: 473


©DecemberKnight 2023


Special thanks to Tara Windstead from Pexels for the use of the image!


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