I Admire Myself In The Mirror
Finn Cowan, Grade 11, Blackwater State High School -
Excellence Award in the 'Inspired 2019' competition
I admire myself in the mirror. I look good. Cute, even. I could see myself going out like this. The dress drifts just above my ankles, and my hair is sitting jus—
My reflection in the bedroom mirror dons an expression of horror as I hear his footsteps leading up the stairs. Panicking for a split-second, standing still, I don't know what to do. But then, my brain goes into overdrive, and my body starts moving.
I notice every movement. Flinging off the ruby stilettos. Kicking them under the bed. Tugging at my golden locks. Pulling them free and replacing them with short brown fuzz instead. The footsteps get louder as he reaches the top of the stairs. Gripping the hem of my sister’s dress. Yanking it over my head. Praying it doesn’t rip. Balling the dress and the blonde wig together. Shoving them into the wardrobe. Slamming it shut.
Next, the bra. Pulling my arms behind my back. Struggling with the clasp. A voice from the door. “Keith? Are you there?”
The bra won’t come off.
“Just a minute!” I shout. The clasp rips apart. Toss the bra under the bed. Is that everything? Reach for the door. Realising at the last minute. Makeup! Backing away. Grasping at the box of tissues. Scrubbing at my face violently.
“I’m coming in now.” Oh no. Drop the tissues. Wrap my blanket around me, and…
A gentle creak. The door swings open, and Dad steps in. “I wanted to talk — what’s going on?” His face shows a quizzical expression as he surveys the room.
“Umm, uh…” I stutter, unable to form words. He glances over the bra, just sticking out from under the bed, and then returns to focus on my face. Stealing a look at the mirror, I see a smear of lipstick across my lips. I’m so dead!
He leans down until his eyes are level with mine. I hold his gaze. Finally, he speaks.
“I should be angry at you… but I can’t help but be proud.” … Wait, what? I look up to see an expression of… glee? Didn’t expect that reaction. Before I ask him what he means, he continues speaking. “I can’t believe that my son is a stud at sixteen!”
…Wait, WHAT!!! Confusion turning to panic, I shake my head frantically. “Nononononono, that’s not—”
“Keith,” he interrupts, “You are finally a man now!” He lets out a deep hearty laugh. I’ve never seen him so elated. “I always knew you had it in you. I mean, you are my son after all. Just don’t tell your mother. Is she a good looking one? Ah, I’m sure she’s stunning. A handsome young man like yourself must have all the girls at school fighting over you. In fact, when I was your age, I…”
And there he goes rambling again. I just smile and listen, hoping to god he doesn’t turn around to see the half open wardrobe door.
At least he doesn’t know the truth.