LOST by Okwara Mirian

She looks into the mirror for the umpteenth time. She has the usual disenchanted look on. That look has stuck for ages. That mirror has lived for ages. She sees the pimples at the tip of her nose and presses them angrily. The pain is momentary. She does the usual, touching her prominent jaw bones and cringing. She frowns and then smiles in an effort to widen her cheek bones and make the jaws less prominent. She frowns again. Her black lips stare at her, agape. She squeezes them and hisses.

She doesn’t pay attention to her dress. She doesn’t care to know if it fits. The hem of her skirt is crinkled. She wouldn’t know. She picks up her handbag and leaves. Then, returns hurriedly to take another look at her face. She sighs, mumbles something about her sorry life and leaves.

After a long day spent learning and confining herself to her small circle of “unfortunate faces,” she returns to her mirror, whines about how her life is messed up because of the “ugly thing” resting on her neck. Then she picks up her phone and stalks every other person in the world on social media. She studies pictures like they were lab specimens, exploring every detail. Her esteem falls down to abyss. Then she breaks down. Amidst tears, she scrolls down her playlist and chooses the one titled, “Lost”. She lies down and listens, letting the lyrics tug at her soul. She wipes her tears and sings along with an amazing pitch. Then she raises her head to say goodnight to her mirror, her confidant, her undoing. She stares hard, forces the frown- smile and falls back on her bed.

Years later, she looks into the mirror for the umpteenth time. She has an impressed look on. She gleefully puts away her make-up kit, her new acquaintance. Then she looks back at her reflection in the mirror. She smiles, pouts, giggles, smirks, sticks out her tongue and makes funny faces. She traces her contoured nose continually. She kisses the mirror and laughs at the glossy, red smear on the glass. She reaches for her jaws underneath the dense curls of her long wig. She pinches her jaw line, frowns, covers it up and beams with satisfaction. She takes a bunch of selfies; a routine that has replaced her former mumbles. She leaves, exuding her new aura of confidence.

She stands in front of her audience and brilliantly delivers her sleep-depriving speech on self esteem. She sites herself as one whose high self-esteem should be emulated. She talks about embracing one’s flaws and all. She talks about overcoming one’s demons. Cameras point at her from all angles. She has poses from all angles. She is confident. She is confident that her “bespoke” face would serve her throughout the day. Her quality mask can stay put twenty four hours long.

She returns to her mirror, exhausted. She silently takes off her make-up; watching as her face metamorphosed to what it was years ago, what it has always been; what it truly is. She closes her eyes in sheer aversion. The cluster of pimples slaps her .The jaws clout. The lips smack. The rest scold her. She fails to duck all these attacks. She frowns, breaks down, and reaches for her secret weapon, her shield, her esteem, her confidence. She opens up the kit and starts re-applying her make-up. She stares at the mirror, her confidant, her undoing. Then, she takes a selfie and rests her head.

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