As the steam rose from the showers behind me, I allowed myself another glance at the wall of mirrors. The foggy glass just made my face seem as vague as I felt behind it. There was silence. I could hear the showers running, but I felt as alone in that bathroom as I did in my own head.
I was tempted, at first, to go up to the mirror and place my hand on it, to see if I could maybe fall through. Everything would be backwards; maybe even the people. As the multitude of this thought struck me, I became sharply aware of the towel wrapped loosely about my body. I fingered the terrycloth, wondering how many people before me had felt this same material, thought these strange thoughts, looked into this very mirrored wall. How many of those people felt like this towel, just wrapped loosely around themselves? Not truly living, but simply being as they should. As they had happened.
The towel began slowly to fall away.
The first it revealed was my torso, now completely visible, and in the mirror I could see how perfect it was. It was rounded, curved, feminine. It was beautiful and so womanlike, and yet—yet, it was not who I was. It was not me, though I happened to be within such beauty. I was captured in art. I did not despise it. I simply did not understand it.
Past my torso came my clavicle, and farther down, my thighs and then my legs. The creamy white towel lay about my feet, and I drank in the image in the mirror. It was all a smooth, constant tan, cinnamon and coffee, and my eyes, big chocolate drops. My hair rolled past my back, and it was a waterfall of deep ebony. There was nothing wrong with this image. I did not have the body of a model, but I had the body of a woman. And I did not deserve it.
In my heart, I thought of the little intricacies I would change, if I could. My hair, for one. It would be cut short and cropped, swept like I wanted it. My legs could remain comfortable without razor burn. My upper lip wouldn’t face the twice monthly threading. I smiled to myself as I realized the simple, little comforts that would come if I could just, just, just switch. A small switch. That was all.