by Angela Kempe
Michaela was rummaging through the bins of a Sunday yard sale when she spotted it; a vintage handheld mirror. The reflection of light first caught her eye, but it was the intricately carved solid wood handle that made her stop what she was doing to study the old mirror. She wiped the dust off the glass and gazed softly into it, astonished by what she saw: Her reflection looking back at her in more detail than she had ever seen it.
“Is that the way I look?” she asked her friend Judy.
Judy looked up casually from the clothes bin.
“Yep,” she said and held up a pair of jeans. “Do you think I should buy these? Only two dollars. Good brand.”
Michaela whisked her away with her hand.
“Yeah, yeah. Get it.”
She took out a five dollar bill from her jacket pocket and un-crumpled it.
“I’ll take this.”
“Dollar fifty,” said the lady.
The lady took the money and searched for the change in her metal box.
“That’s a good one. It was my grandma’s.”
“Looks old,” Michaela smiled.
She handed her the change.
“Take care of it well.”
On the way back from the sale, Michaela found herself captivated by her reflection in the mirror.
“I didn’t know I had this much gray,” Michaela said, picking at the small hairs on her scalp.
Judy was driving.
“Maybe I should start dying my hair.”
“You don’t have any gray!”
“Right!” she said and leaned against the car window with the mirror.
Two weeks passed. Michaela barely ate. All she could see in the mirror was fat. She stopped calling her friend Judy. She just lay on her bed with the mirror. Sometimes she cried as she watched the wrinkles forming on her face. She lay in her bed searching for the girl she once was. Months passed. She stopped taking phone calls. Finally, her friend called Michaela’s parents and had them let her into the house.
Judy knocked on the door.
“I’m doing something! Go away, mom!” Michaela hollered.
“It’s me!” Judy said and opened the door.
Michaela looked up at Judy with tears in her eyes.
“I’m so old! How come you never told me how old I was?”
Judy’s eyes welled up with tears. She stepped towards her friend.
“Michaela, you are only sixteen.”