Daily Prompt: Surreal
I am startled by my reflection as I pass the bathroom mirror. I stop for a moment and force myself to gaze into my own eyes. I examine the face that is fading into something and someone I don’t recognize. I want to look away. I want to ignore the rapidity of aging. My head tells me to acknowledge this image that does not lie. My heart says look away because I am breaking.
I break the stare down. I lost that round. These days, I lose most rounds of this seemingly cruel and surreal game.
The old woman tells me that in her day it was proper for a woman to cut her hair short after the age of forty. Anger flares up inside of me but I hold my straight face with a sweet smile. What was she implying? There is still a part of me that is angry. I hold a grudge against her opinion of how I should age. Or perhaps I am holding a grudge against her opinion of how I should accept it.
The old woman’s daughter tells me to let my gray hair grow in, it might be pretty. I think that she says this because she is not nor has she ever been. I take it as a personal affront. They want me to put my head down on the chopping block; they want me to submit. The old hags stand over me with a giant pair of scissors and call to me. They say to give in. They say stop fighting mother nature and join us. I hate them. I want to tell them to fuck off and mind their own estrogen.
I notice the difference in the way the world is reacting to me. I am fading; it is the beginning of invisibility. The skin on my hands is beginning to thin and shine. I am a work of transparency in progress.
I speak and I see my words are not being heard from the pretty young girl I still think myself as in my deceptive mind’s eye. I no longer see amusement at my clever comments. I see a begrudging tolerance. I speak louder to be heard, to be noticed. I do not miss that hint of pity that appears in the eye before they look away.
There is a woman I sometimes walk by and I unkindly think of her as the troll who guards the gate. In order to pass you must pay the aging troll a toll of words and I try not to look at her yellowed, cracked toenails imbedded with the last vestiges of some cheap dollar store polish. On occasion there are false lashes crookedly affixed to her eyes and lipstick on some of the teeth she has left. I want to scream at her, why aren’t you trying?! You have to stop this; you have to pull it together because you are only ten years older than me. When I see her I am afraid. I do not hate her. I feel sorry for her. Or perhaps I am feeling sorry for me.
I wonder what I will feel like when I see my reflection tomorrow as I play the seemingly cruel and surreal game of my transparency in progress.