The photo shoot has just ended. I sit in front of the mirror. The expertly applied mask creates an outer beauty, conveying a fantasy for the world to perceive.
I cleanse my skin. With each pass, the make-up leaves my face and soaks the cloth. Layer by layer, away peels my disguise. No longer cleverly concealed, pockmark craters mar my features. The body may look young, but the face clearly shows the more than fifty years I have walked this earth. Each line, each crevice and each scar is well visible, and well earned.
As I sit here unadorned, it is just me. It’s Rita.
I smile. If those who compliment that which they see, knew the entire story. If they recognized what they see is merely the surface of a life-long, never-ending struggle.
I am happy with Rita, but that wasn’t always so. I think back to another time. —
When I didn’t like her.
A time, when I hated her.
A time, when even I didn’t know her.
I screamed into that mirror, “I want to fucking die! Why are you still here?”
That image, would only mimic my motions and movements – an answer it would never give.