There is something in the mirror
– Fiction by Lailani Kenoly –
First Place Winner of the Dreamers 2022 Flash Contest
A wall of colorless, otherwise unidentifiable orbs float, gathered in a line. They bare no recognizable feature, yet you see me. In a lineup of souls, it’s mine you know from the rest. This is what I dream.
To that I would have to ask, what do you see?
I want to tell you all about me.
I would tell you all the things I’m afraid someone will forget.
I would tell you the things I want you to believe about me.
I would tell you the things that are undeniably true.
I wouldn’t stop the words that came from me. I would be made to feel as though there’s nothing else in this moment I could ever speak of.
You would listen. What would you think?
I need someone to know me.
There is a hidden desperation I carry, often revealing itself among company. With the upmost subtlety I can conjure, I try my hardest to impress them all. The deep fear that I am not known, even in the closest company, permeates my every interaction.
If I say it loud enough, will anyone hear this declaration of myself?
Did they hear me when I said I love the color yellow?
The specific shade of marigold?
When they see something yellow will they think of me?
What will they think when they think of me?
What do they see when i’m standing right here?
Like a lady in waiting, I’ve tried my hardest to charm and beguile. To wave my hands and present whatever they wanted to see. I will always stand how they want me to stand, sound how they want me to sound, see them the way they want to be seen.
What does a mirror see when it sees itself?
What is my voice when it has nothing to imitate?
Whose beauty is this but not the beautiful ones it mimics?
How will you find me in a crowd?
There are those who came before and fell at my sight. They reveled at my words that were not my words, they built me a pedestal, and fawned at my carving. I dare not move from the position they placed me in. Every angle of my stance, edited by their beguilement, and I contorted willingly. It’s only so long that one can hold their place that is not natural to them.
And with that, the spell is broken.
There I am, recovering the whiplash of magic that breaks. My shiny reflective skin turns opaque in a room alone. My mind is a flurry of words I’ve never heard strung together.
My voice is unfamiliar and it squeaks.
There is something in the mirror.
What is this that you are seeing?
This figure is alien to these eyes I do not recognize, though I feel an immediate kinship. Through her gaze, she tells me her deepest desire. She is lost, and as afraid as I am to see her.
She is me. With these eyes, I tell her, that we crave witness to this form. An anguished desire for someone to divulge in this unknown person.
With my back to yours, I need to tell someone about myself. I need to tell someone what I am. Where I have been. What I did. I have to show someone these fears I have, that play in my mind, loop after loop. I need to show someone the parts I have had to hide from myself. The parts of me that make me lose sleep, that I would die if someone knew.
If I tell you this, then you will know me. You will see her, and you will know me.
I desperately need someone to know me.
About the Author – Lailani Kenoly
Lailani Kenoly was born in the Bay Area, CA and never once thought writing could be fun. She studies astrophysics and continues research in that field while trying out writing from time to time to prove she was right, that it is no fun.
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