Congratulations, Mia. You’ve spent the last three weeks as a thoroughly depressed, anorexic, suicidal failure. If you don’t put something together and flaunt it, you’re so busted!
My 22-year-old reflection squinted back as my cruel dictator continued the lecture I wanted to sleep through.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah…shut up! You’re a voice in my head and…ugh…I need to crash-” Dizziness washed over me and I staggered backwards to the bed.
When it passed, I concentrated on wrestling a comb through my tangled knot of hair.
The comb snapped.
In a sudden fit of temper, I stumbled to the bathroom in search of scissors and a wakeup call of cold water. The cold wetness startled most of my senses and they chose to awaken. Steady hands hacked away at the mangled lump and the resulting short crop could’ve been decent.
Hair gel should do the trick.
A shower helped to further to the awakening and I spent a half-minute longer than usual standing in front of the closet. Slacks, blouse and a fancy blazer added a look of professionalism.
I accessorized with pearl jewelry and crooked lip liner. The bedside clock blared as I tossed old mascara into the overflowing garbage can. Mom’s morning drum ritual played seconds later on my bedroom door.
“Mia Coventon! If you think I’m going to let you keep this up and skip school again, you are in big trouble young-”
One hand grabbed my bulging backpack while the other tugged my keys from the plastic hook near the light switch. I closed my eyes to avoid the smirk of my own reflection.
Keep laughing…I’ll make it through today. No one will ever know the difference. I’m too perfect to let that slip.
I opened the door, pasting a perky smile on my face. “Morning, Mom!” I dropped a light kiss on her cheek and headed for the stairs.
“Mia?” She hurried after me. “Are you…where are you going?”
“School, of course.” I flashed another smile, snatching a waffle from the toaster. “Don’t wanna be late! Cheers!”
I was out of the kitchen and in my car by the time she came to the front window. Her half-hearted wave betrayed her bewilderment as I pulled out of the driveway.
Professor Engle looked up when I entered the classroom and shut his mouth when I flashed a smile and dropped a slip of paper on his desk. His gazed lingered a half-second longer before he returned to the explanation of different mathematical signs.
“A word, Mia?” He murmured on my way out of class.
I stopped, waiting. “Yes?”
“Is everything all right?”
“Sure.” I shrugged. “Why?”
His gray eyebrows mushed together. “It’s not in my place to ask, but if you’re not serious about your educ-”
“I am. Don’t worry-thanks!” I wiggled my fingers in a wave and darted out into the hall.
The scene repeated itself through different classes. Wearing a suit attracted more attention than black, baggy sweats.
I took a window seat in the cafeteria, to sit in the sunshine. It was out of character for the old Mia, but not for the new one. Sunlight didn’t bother the new Mia.
The new Mia was on time for classes, took a nice seat in the cafeteria and ate a salad of sprouts with limp lettuce.
Hours blurred by and soon I climbed the stairs to my bedroom. Home was welcome, but the darkness was not. I could run all day and still return to the same mess I was hours before.
Shadows seeped out from the doorway as I turned the knob and reality faded. “Hello, Mia.” I told the mirror, dropping the backpack on the desk chair. “Didja have a good day today?”
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