Here’s her winning entry to enjoy. Join us again next week!
She looked into the mirror. She knew it was there. She knew nobody else could really see it was there at the same time as she knew it was hideous and made her face all out of proportion and was the first thing anyone saw when they looked at her.
She was being crazy, and she knew it. She was not being crazy, and she knew that, too. Ever since her mother had taken her to the doctors and put her on the meds, they’d said the thoughts would go away. That she would see herself with clarity. That she would see herself as others saw her.
Now she saw the blotch. The big, pink blotch that was absolutely obvious and huge and veiny and peeling in the dead center of her left cheek, and she knew it was stupid, but it was still there. And she was bloated from drinking so much because her mouth was always dry now. And she kept having dizzy spells. And one of her eyes didn’t this weird blinky thing when she was tired. But they said she had to stay on the meds and finish high school and she looked fine and to just wear a scarf. To put mittens on her hands.
So she stared at herself in the mirror at 6:45 in the morning in April with a muffler around her face and mittens AND tape around her fingers, and she breathed. In and out. In and out. She told herself that she would not lose her mind and be publicly ridiculed if she didn’t fix that flap of skin. She told herself it was the other way around, in fact. She knew that. She did, she knew it.
And she unwrapped the muffler, just to see. Just to check. Not to do anything. No, just to make sure the meds were working and really really really hoping that she would look at her face and it would just look normal. Like Sue or Jessica or Patty’s face. But it didn’t. The blotch was there and it was hideous.
She wasn’t going to go out of control this time. She’d just even it out a bit. With just one hand. She took off one of the mittens — the right one — and untaped just her thumb and index finger. And she just peeled that little bit that was sticking out. And that left an uneven space that she had to fix. So she worked on that. And then the right side of her face didn’t match, and there was a WORSE spot there, so she took off the other mitten, too, without even really realizing it, and tried to even it out. With some concealer, it would be OK.
It was 7:30 and her mom was calling from the kitchen that she had to eat, she’d be late, come on already.
“Just a minute!” She yelled, really panicking now because of how hideous she looked — how blotchy and red and spots of blood, but also, it was STILL not even. It was still all wrong. And her mother would kill her, absolutely kill her. And she’d have to go to the doctor again, who treated her like she was eight. And she knew that if she could just fix that spot on her chin and then use a LOT of concealer and foundation, it would only take a minute.
And it was 8:20 and her Mom was shrieking, “Why are you doing this to me? Why are you punishing me? Why do you have to act so crazy? What did I do to deserve this?”
And she was crying, because she was a terrible daughter, she knew it, and she also was angry and so confused because how could her mom not see it was not about her? It was about her face being WRONG. And the crying, oh god, the crying. They’d make her go to school, and the crying had made her face puffy and pink and worse.
She looked into the mirror again. She could just fix it. Just fix it before her mother dragged her to school.