ďYou have one minute to pull yourself together ladies!Ē The program director barked. She readjusted her pinned blonde curls while glowering at the group over her designer glasses. ďOne minute, no more. When your chime sounds, if you donít waltz outta here with your head screwed on your shoulders, Iíll have it in my hand.Ē
I listened to her words.
Thatís why I turned and slapped the girl smirking behind me.
For all the lies and truths that she had held against me, I put all the emotion into that single slap. I could almost see the blood rushing to her cheek as she stared at me in complete shock.
It felt good.
I could blame her in a thousand different ways for my failures. Her self-conscious attention to detail left me fidgeting and fussing when I ought to have kept still. Her coy, flirtatious smiles drew the unwanted attention in the midst of a crowd.
There was no real explanation to offeróI hated her so much in that moment, I didnít know what else to do. It was always the wrong thing at the wrong moment and something wrong in the right moment. Wrong, always wrong, no matter what it was.
Too fat, too skinny, too tall and too short, too much of everything and not enough of anything. I heard her gasp as the slap sank in. I wondered how shallow-minded she was. So high and mighty in all her musings and meanderings that it never occurred to her that someone like me existed.
I felt decidedly devious, for a moment. I wanted to laugh at her, to watch her tears come, then count them as they fell. She had no earthly idea how I hated her. She thought she had it all together, with the world tied up at her feet. I saw her as a ball of yarn that I couldnít wait to pull apart and relinquish at her defeat.
Running with the wrong friends, sleeping in the wrong places and laughing in all the right moments. She was picture perfect from a distance. My hands itched to slap her again. One slap couldnít possibly be good enough, a second one would be for good measure.
My hand stung from all the effort Iíd put into it. I hadnít thought I could hold that much hate, that much darkness. I didnít realize it was tearing me apart to tear into her.
Now she cried now, her face haunting. Beauty was skin deep and only as strong as your heartbeat. Her skin was paler than white, her heart a fluttering pulse at the base of her neck, jumping and stuttering. Crumpling to her knees, she buried her face in her hands and cried so loudly I was sure all the women in the dressing room were staring at her.
Then the silence registered.
I was relieved we were alone. I hadnít noticed when the others left. That was good. It meant that maybe the others hadnít seen this. Maybe they didnít know about our personal vendetta.
It made me sick to my stomach. She was such a show-off, parading and flaunting a flair that was so artificial, I could see through it at every angle. I was no better, yet she was chosen to give the speech.
She was the one who was going to inspire the young people of tomorrow and point them towards a greater light and a bigger purpose. In the end, everything sheíd done was null and void when her record was erased by a single prayer. A single request. One history-altering word.
A clean slate.
A new spirit.
A permanent heartprint of Christ.
Forgiven and forgotten, the mistakes pushed away so in moments like this, she could call for help from the One who mattered.
She was too dramatic, too flighty and too insecure. But she was just like me.
Thatís why when I slapped her, there was no remorse at all.
She was me.
The mirror shook and trembled as my reflection wavered. There was no one there but us. My stubborn pride and insecurities staring back at my real self.
At the end of one minute, my hand hurt and the mirror was still standing.
I stood up and blotted my face with a soft tissue. The chime sounded and the churning in my stomach was replaced by goosebumps on my arms.
Thank you, Lord, for mirrors and waterproof mascara.
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