The Mirror

Sadie stared at her reflection with a mixture of admiration and guilt.  The layers of fabric hung strategically, giving shape and mystery to what she knew were just mounds of flesh wrapped around fat, hugging muscles gone unused.

She contemplated the phrase:  Dying Alone.  It was a phrase she’d used in jest for decades.  She reached back for the details of an actual death she’d read about:  Janis Joplin, she remembered from a yellowed article, had two dates scheduled for the night she died.  One with a man, the other with a woman.  

Both canceled.  

In the end, Joplin died standing up, falling face first and breaking her nose against the hotel room floor.

Sadie could see the body vividly, face smashed, mouth limp, hair matting in congealed blood while legs lay slightly parted, the heels falling to either side.  

That’s what happens when you don’t choose wisely.  

Sadie searched her mind for memories of paths not taken, options that might have had a salutary affect on the image looking back at her.  

She could find none.

There was no boy who’d gotten away, no once in a lifetime opportunity squandered.  If she had her choices to make over again she wouldn’t have done anything differently.  

The problem, it seemed, was with the choices themselves.  None of them promised to lead to anything worth having.  A life worth living had never been on the table.  

It was cold comfort, but comfort nonetheless, to know that, no matter what combination of choices she’d made, she would likely be here, staring at her reflection, dreading another day.  

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