There was a monster living inside my little sister’s mirror, and one day, she decided to show it to me.
Tugging at my sleeve, she leads me to the room at the end of our hall. Her room. A boxy little room with crayons scattered across the carpet, barbies and their jagged haircuts, a couple of fashion magazines she had taken from my room and thought I wouldn’t notice. A sad-looking teddy bear rests in the corner. One of his button eyes is missing and the stuffing is peaking out from his seams. The door proudly proclaims, in a jumbled rainbow of letters
E L L I E
“Monster!” Ellie waves her hands about as I hover by the doorway. “D’you see it, Suzie? The monster! Ugly. Very ugly.”
“Ah, yes.” I resist the urge to roll my eyes. “What a convincing little monster you make.”
“No, Suzie… Me no monster. The monster! Big. Ugly.”
I shrug my shoulders and her actions get more agitated. She contorts her face and slaps the mirror behind her, leaving a greasy handprint.
Grabbing her by the arm, I pull her away. “Stop it, Ellie! You’ll break the mirror. And look. You’re getting the glass all dirty.”
“In the mirror. Suzie, look! Look at the monster.”
“I know, I know. A big scary monster.” I can hear her footsteps stomping behind me as I walk back down the hall and into my room. “Mum’ll be back later and you can show her the monster.” I close the door in my sister’s face and turn towards the clothes piled on top of my bed.
I pluck a t-shirt from the top. Think about it. A safe choice. Then swap it for a dress with long sleeves.
I hold the outfit up against me, trying to picture myself wearing it to the party later tonight. Would I look right wearing it? Would I feel right?
Not that I want to impress anyone. Robin would never notice me. Not in a million years. But it would be nice to… Feel good about myself, I guess? Feel pretty enough for Robin to notice me.
I slip on the dress and stare at my reflection in the mirror.
My eyes skim over my acne. Makeup could cover that up. The flab on my arms. Hidden by my sleeves. But the curve of my belly…
I suck in. Breathe out. I can’t hold it in all night.
I turn to look at myself from different angles. Trying out different postures. I’m scowling and don’t even notice Ellie sneaking into my room until I hear her cry out