She turned the letter opener in her sweaty palms, over and over again. She wasn’t sure what just happened, but whatever it was, she knew it wasn’t good. She glanced up at her reflection in the mirror. She saw the sweat beads gathered on her forehead. She had a “V” shaped wrinkle in between her brows that was always overly exaggerated when she was stressed out. As she stared at her image in the glass, she thought to herself, “Who am I anymore?”
She wondered that more often lately. “I can read your mind.” She heard her reflection laugh at her torment while she was pondering life. She stared at the image reconciling the fact that it was merely an image of herself and not who she truly was. Her image, though it looked and sounded EXACTLY like her, was only just a stand-in for when she wanted to see if there were any collections of broccoli in her teeth. Therefore, it wasn’t really her, but a design that the glass showed her, that happened to represent to herself who and what she was. Society didn’t need the image, for what society saw in her, she very well couldn’t see in herself without the mirror.
But alas, her mind was babbling again, as usual. She glanced down at her letter opener and quickly shoved it away in the drawer. She wanted to leave no outwardly evidence of what she had just done. “I can read your mind.” The mirror haunted her. Did it really speak to her, or was that a figment of her own imagination, her mind playing tricks on her again? She knew the response, but regardless, it seemed to be less clear these days.
Sure, there was a pill she could take, a little anecdote to help end the obsession that she often experienced. Her parents thought that after he left her, that it would be helpful to her, however, all it did was make her sleep. Though, admittedly, sleep would be nice these days. That is not something she was able to get a lot of since he left her standing here, precisely at this location, in her dad’s church.
Her father was a firefighter full-time, and a part time pastor. It was definitely an odd combination of jobs, however, it worked for him. He knew first-hand how to trust God in dire situations. From those experiences, he taught the church quite well. He was able to turn it into a good Christian Evangelical church. They built a great missions team who were able to help the local homeless population better than every other non-profit combined. Often her father was noted as the local hero. He saved people both physically and spiritually. His heroism is something that she could never equal.
Olivia, that’s her name, and the guy that left her, his name is too hard for her to bear at this time, but perhaps I’ll mention it later; met at the end of Terrace Street, near the old police station. Olivia was running along the beach when she noticed him. At first sight he was in awe. Olivia not so much. He knew he had to find a way to talk to her and so he thought of any excuse he could.
He had his head under the hood of his car and as soon as she was going to jog past, he flagged her down.
“Do you know anything about cars?” He asked, assuming the answer was no.
“Yeah, what do you need?” She asked, while cautiously approaching his vehicle. She was holding onto the phone in her side pocket just in case she needed to call the police. It was good that the station was across the street from them, so she wasn’t too concerned.
“I don’t know, it won’t start.” He said, lying.
“If you plug the battery connectors in, it will start just fine.” She said, obviously perturbed by his sorry attempt at getting her attention. She turned around to get back to her run, when he started to laugh.
“Wanna get some coffee?” He asked.
“Not a chance.” She said, slightly flattered at the pass, but not enough to make her interested.
“Why is that?” He asked.
“I don’t date liars.” She admitted, freely.
“Liars?” He asked, then realized that the battery gig was indeed a false testimony. He reached into the car and pulled out a fresh- just caught from the lake, salmon. “Would you say no to this cute fella?” He tried, while squeezing the mouth of the enormous fish in order to make it look like he was talking.
She screamed. She backed up so quickly that her foot caught the curb and she fell all of the way down. She hit her head on the sidewalk and immediately started to cry.
“Oh my God! I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you!” He said.
“It’s fine, just put that thing away. I hate fish!” She stated in-between stifled sobs. She was trying to be a warrior, but in reality she was terrified.
“You’re scared of fish?” He asked, curiously.
“YES! Will you put that away?” She insisted. He slowly walked away, opening the back seat of his Ford pick-up. He slid the fish in the car and then with a reddened face, asked her if she was okay.
She stated she was. She got up and brushed herself off. Her head was pounding and she was blatantly humiliated. He asked her if she needed a ride to wherever she was going, she declined, adamantly.
When he finally decided that this entire situation was an utter failure, he wished her well and started to laugh uncontrollably.
“What’s so funny?” She asked, humiliated but curious at the same time.
“I have never had such a horrible time trying to get a girl to go out with me!” He stated in between giggles. First you catch me lying, then I scare the hell outta you with the fish, you fall down and hit your head, and to top it all off, it looks like you might have broken your necklace…” His thick fingers delicately pulled the chain from around her neck. It was connected to her hoody, and he carefully loosened the clasp from the shirt. “Here.” He said. “I don’t want you to lose this on the account of me and your horrible day.”
“Thanks.” She said, meeting his eyes with hers.
“I am innocent, really.” He said, as he put his arms in the air in a non-threatening gesture. “I hope that I didn’t offend you. I just think that you’re really beautiful.” He added.
Olivia grabbed the letter opener out of the drawer again. This time she forced the letter open, regardless of what it might say. She looked at her reflection in the mirror and smiled. No matter how worried or frustrated she was, she always knew she looked her best when she smiled.