She opened her eyes. An invisible weight was pinning her to the ruffled sheets of her bed. The first thing her eyes involuntarily focused on was her left hand. The veins bulging and fingers falling off the edge of the bed like they were the only objects earth’s gravity was focusing on.
With her right hand supporting her weight, she tried getting off the bed that had been her habitat for the past fourteen hours. At the third try she almost lifted herself off.
“I have to live.” She thought to herself. It was more of a reminder, though.
Staring into the girl on the other side of the frame was always the hardest. She raised her hand, tracing the outlines of the silhouette. Red conjunctivas, bulging eyelids, hair ruffled, red nose, swollen face.
All the things she’d ever been told started revolving around her head. Everyone that had called her beautiful would find her to be repulsive in this moment. Everyone that had called her perfect should see the tear stained face and half remaining sleeping pills in the bottle by the headboard. Everyone that had told her she had the deepest, most hypnotizing eyes they had seen on someone would’ve been scared had they the chance to look at the half burnt ashes in the depth of the same eyes in that moment. Everyone that had complemented her smile calling it beautiful or her lips would be scared to see how her lips looked like they hadn’t touched water for eons and how far her smile was from her eyes.
That was always her measure of the genuineness of a smile. She and her best friend once had a conversation where she had claimed she could pick all the genuine smiles in the hall. “How?” her best friend asked. “It’s simple. A true smile reflects in the eyes.” she would answer.
She splashed water on her face.
“Hideous.” She thought to herself. She couldn’t look at herself, without repeatedly calling herself that.
“How do you manage to look so perfect, always?” She would get asked that often.
She splashed her face with water once more. The hideousness won’t go away. She splashed her face one more time and was about to pick the black eyeliner lying on the dresser.
“NO.” She stopped mid-act, thinking to herself. And picked the blue one, instead.
She had read somewhere putting blue around eyes brings out the white.
It helped. The redness wasn’t very visible, unless someone noticed. Which no-one ever did. So, she was safe.
She brushed her tangled hair. Every strand. Every lock. They’d ask her how she maintained such long hair. They asked her how her hair was so healthy.
It took her a while to smooth the tangles.
She wore the bright yellow dress she had forgotten to iron.
The monthly family and friends meetup was something she looked forward to as a child. She managed a little smile as she recalled how she and her friends would dress up for such parties as children. The earrings, the bangles, the anklets… the genuine smiles that reached their eyes.
“Look, now. She’s here!” One of the elderly ladies pointed at her as she walked out.
“Ah, how do you always look so perfect?” A young cousin asked. She giggled, shaking her head.
Her best friend saw her from across the hall with the words “A true smile reflects in the eyes” reverberating in her head as she saw the girl she had known since childhood giggle and serve tea and cookies to everyone, cracking jokes, being the life of the party as always – with ashes in her eyes.
Whether the character is fiction or real, whether the situation is metaphorical and symbolic or real, I leave the interpretation of this post entirely up to the readers.