It was a Friday night and like every other night I was preparing myself for my shift. I stood in front of my bathroom mirror and as I was putting my mascara on, I noticed that my iris was slightly pigmented with a greenish color -I usually have hazel eyes- that did not seem to be originated from the bad lighting. I brought my head closer to the mirror to focus even more but my breath kept on tainting the glass with steam that I continuously swiped with some paper towels. I could see my pupil dilating, like a black hole engulfing parts of its galaxy. Even my consciousness was getting sucked inside this whirlpool, as I was feeling my head being pulled down by the gravitational force. Suddenly, I woke up from my wondering and continued my make-up. Done with the contouring and the foundation, I ended up my routine by applying my favorite red colored lipstick, and there I was, ready to go to work. I got out of the bathroom and walked towards my bedroom to unplug my phone from the charger. I got frustrated to discover that it was only 13% charged but I couldn’t wait any longer because I was getting late for work. I had received an imessage from my boss a couple of minutes ago that said:
“Hurry up Kelly! Customers are getting hungry, and few are serving. We need your help asap”.
This text brought shivers to my spine, because it wasn’t the first time that I get a warning for being late and I was afraid to lose my job.
Ever since I failed to maintain my scholarship, I had to find a way to pay my tuition. I remember the day I entered the dean’s office to beg Mr. Stone not to take my scholarship away, but he refused to listen to me and with a demeaning look he told me:
“Miss Kelly, there are plenty of other institutions that can welcome you. We have rules here. You weren’t between the top of your classmates therefore you lose your scholarship”.
I always had been on the honor’s list, but the death of my parents in a car crash at the beginning of that semester undermined all my efforts and hard work. My parents never wanted me to major in political sciences. They believed that I was able to go to med school and become a surgeon. However, following my dream meant taking a huge leap of faith, and losing my scholarship was the wind that slapped me to the ground.
The dean’s words dragged me through the mud even more and I found myself vulnerable to failure. I hated him… So bad… That every time I see him in the hallways, all the muscles in my body contract. I can even hear my heart pumping in my chest, this thick, crimson liquid against my arteries. Soon enough, my stomach starts to ache as if it was receiving electrical shocks.
But I couldn’t do anything about it because as he said “We have rules here”.
I took the keys of the old, silver colored Honda, and drove to work. The seats were dusty and smelled like rotten food. Even one of its loosed rims was constantly cracking along the way.
I finally reached my destination, got out of the car and ran as fast as I could with those heels towards the Club I work at. There, I saw my boss, who I assumed to be extremely mad since his eyebrows crossed roads just above his concave nasal bone.
“Go wear your uniform and serve tables 4 to 8” he said firmly.
Holding the tray in one hand, I placed a short glass of scotch -on the rocks of course- on table number 5. I was carefully watching my steps, because the place was too dark, only lightened by strobes, switching on and off to the rhythm of the loud music. I rapidly sense a presence behind my back, coming closer towards my ear, whispering: “I’ll give you what you want, if you give me what I want!”.
I recognized this voice immediately. I turned around to confirm my assumption, and here he was, Dean Stone!
He broke my comfort zone by sternly gazing into my eyes. I was trying to preserve a slight portion of my privacy, but he managed to strip the last bits of it by simply saying: “Your emerald-green eyes are mesmerizing!”.
At that moment, I couldn’t refuse his offer, because on one side, it was part of my job to satisfy every potential client, and on the other hand his offer was definitely tempting.
Two years have passed, and I was still sleeping with the enemy. It was my graduation day and also the day I was going to be set free from all the torture I had suffered. Looking at myself in the mirror, my iris looked greener than usual. I gazed deeper into my reflexion and suddenly a deja vu throws me off to when it all started. The first time I let myself being manipulated, succumbing to the trap, I felt unworthy and disgusted of the person I turned into. My identity was altered by circumstances I had no control of, or thought I didn’t. Each time I looked in the mirror, I couldn’t recognize myself. I’ve played too many roles in my life that I forgot to play myself. But today, I’m breaking this never-ending vicious cycle… I’m going on that graduation stage and instead of throwing my valedictorian speech, I’m sharing my story!
Reality hit me, and I found myself looking at my bathroom mirror again. My eyes gained their original brownish color, and for a long time, I finally looked like Kelly.