So captivated by her image, she nearly missed the exit and veered right at the last possible moment towards the building’s main doors. I shook my head and snickered again, continuing straight towards the garage as I thought about what a shallow girl she must be.
I quickened my pace to beat the five o’clock rush, when something in the sprawling, reflective window of the gym caught my eye. It was her, Ms. Burberry, standing firmly in the threshold of the high double doors, staring intently at me.
I wilted under her gaze.
I continued walking as the grey pants I was wearing for the third time this week became painfully obvious and my black, five-dollar t-shirt screamed cheapskate only slightly less than my flat sandals doctored with permanent marker to hide last year’s scars. I cursed the good lord as the strap of my $50.00 purse slipped from its buckle, and the princess turned away.
I limped the rest of the way to the car, assuring myself that being a plain Jane was admirable; it proved external forces didn’t control me.
And as I forced that thought repeatedly through my mind, a vision of just 24 hours earlier came into focus. There I laid, crying on the couch, loudly proclaiming that “I hate[d] my life,” because, (brace yourself)… a burrito with beer was not included in the night’s itinerary.
As I watched the image of myself wreathing on the couch in such emotional pain, I realized I had the same flaw as the beauty queen in the lobby. It just manifested itself in a different way: hers an obsession with style, mine an obsession with burritos and beer.
And even though we scrutinized each other in the brief moments that our paths had crossed, it’s obvious upon reflection that she and I—the beauty queen and the plain Jane—are unwitting sisters in slavery.
Poor mental health makes for strange bedfellows.