Invisible - Part 1

Part 1: Miriam

Miriam sits on the little chair that her mother gave her years ago, the one she has always thought silly. Who puts a skirt on a chair, for heaven’s sake? Snugged up close to the scarred desk she now uses as a dressing table, she dips three fingers into a jar of Pond’s cold cream. Scooping out a healthy dollop, she smears it on her face, part of a nighttime ritual as old as she is. The floral, powdery scent of the cream carries her back to her old bedroom. “Always cream your face before bed, girl,” she hears her mother say, “and don’t forget to brush your hair 100 strokes.” Mom’s been gone for decades, and still she nags. Miriam shakes her head and pulls several tissues from the box at her elbow. The next thing her mother will say is sure to be “Stop dawdling, girl!”

Tissues in hand, she leans toward the three-paneled mirror in front of her, but her attention is drawn to the reflection of the room behind her. The room is so dowdy, so old fashioned, so old. Heavy mahogany furniture fills the room and the four-poster dominates it all. An ugly chintz-covered over-stuffed chair sits in the corner, her favorite place to read. There’s an open book spine up on its seat and a china teacup on the table to the side. She grimaces. Surely this isn’t my life, she thinks. In her mind’s eye, she sees the chair in another time and place. Instead of the teacup, a glass of Hennessey sits on the table, a cigarette resting in the ashtray beside it. From the jukebox, Nat King Cole softly croons Autumn Leaves. A handsome man smiles at her from across the dimly lit room.

Miriam sighs, and pulls her attention back to the job at hand and, as always, feels the familiar twinge of confusion and disbelief at the sight of the face in front of her. That can’t be her. Like the room in the mirror, the face is old, much older than she is.  Inside, she is still young, still energetic, still beautiful. That face in the mirror is certainly not beautiful, something that she struggles to grasp. Before, when she passed by, people noticed and smiled at her. Now, no one ever really sees her; people treat her as if she were invisible. Miriam feels something like grief for the young woman who still lives within, and begins to wipe the cream from her wrinkled face, taking the tears that have fallen along with it.

To be continued in Part 2: Milo

Posted for River of Mnemosyne Challenge No. 11, Muse 1: "The Cigarette in the Mirror Is Not Hers"

1 comment:

Thoughts? I would love to hear from you.