‘Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.’ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Once upon a time

There lived a young woman

She grew up always knowing she was different

Like the odd one out

From being a little child, to a rebellious teenager and now as a young adult

She felt alone a lot

Always feeling like an outsider

One morning, she woke and before opening her eyes

She knew something had changed

As she rose from bed and opened the drapes

She sensed things would never be the same again

She looked outside

The neighbourhood sat in front of her

Nothing seemed out of sorts

She changed and readied herself for the day

Not bothering to look in the mirror

She knew what she looked like

She always stood out

No matter what she wore, or didn’t wear

Walking outside, she looked around

The people around her walked alongside her

Everyone else blended in so easily

She envied them for that

She’d tried once

To blend in

It all just felt so wrong

Like she’d put on someone else’s skin

She made it to work and went to the restroom

She looked at herself in the mirror for a long while

Nothing appeared to have changed

She was still herself

That both made her feel relieved and disappointed

She heard the toilet flush and someone came to stand beside her

In front of the mirror

When she looked beside her

The other woman standing there looked totally unlike her

No similarities at all

That wasn’t unusual

She never had much in common with others

The woman was bland

The type of person you’d forget about as soon as you looked away

The other woman’s reaction was unusual however

The stranger didn’t even seem to notice her

Didn’t bat an eye

The young woman thought maybe she’d seen this person before

Often when new people met her

They stared in shock, in awe, in disgust, in well something

She looked at her again

Trying to remember if she’d met her

It was hard to tell, she thought

The other woman looked like so many others

The young woman looked straight ahead

Staring into the mirror

And when she caught sight of herself

Beside the other woman

She gasped

And that’s the only way she could determine who was whom

Through the mirrors reflection

Standing there

Looking straight ahead

She saw two women

Identical in their unimpressionable appearances

Her hand fluttered to cover her mouth

So did the plain woman in the mirror

This couldn’t be, she thought to herself

The other woman washed up and left the restroom

The young woman stood there staring at her solitary reflection

Now that she had seen it

She couldn’t stop unseeing it

All the sameness between her and the other woman

Another person entered and came over to wash their hands

The young woman looked over

Again noticing how plain the new woman looked

She reluctantly looked into the mirror

Her stomach began to churn

She raised her arm

So did the woman in the mirror

The other plain Jane in the room

She settled her arm by her side

The woman beside her finished up and left

The young woman thought back to her previous night

Had something happened?

She remembered coming home from work

She remembered feeling annoyed

She had taken public transit

She remembered how everyone had made her feel so uncomfortable

They stared unabashedly

Some talked to their friends about her

Right in front of her!

This wasn’t anything new

It happened whenever people saw her for the first time

A memory crossed her mind

She’d gotten home, feeling frustrated, lonely and like a social outcast

She’d drawn a bubble bath

Sighing as she got in

She wished not for the first time

That she could be just like everybody else and feel content about it

The young woman stared at herself in the mirror again

Seeing the reflection that stared back at her

Noticing nothing about her

She looked like every other person she was used to encountering

She felt her hands begin to tremble

Had she somehow put this in motion?

Had she wished it too many times?

Had she gotten what she wanted?

The young woman began to cry

In an instant memories flooded her mind

With every occasion someone mentioned how special she was, in her different-ness

Every instance someone remarked at how unique she was

Every single time she had wished herself away

What had she done?

She collapsed to the floor with a loud thud

People came running

Someone yelled ‘call an ambulance’

‘She’s collapsed’

As the ambulance came to take her away

Her coworkers stood around

The young woman didn’t open her eyes but she could hear everyone murmuring

Someone said

‘Who was that woman?’

Another person replied ‘Never seen her before.’

The young woman wanted to yell at them

She was the same person who’d worked there for years!

She heard someone say her name, they were worried that no one had seen her that day

8 thoughts on “‘Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.’ Ralph Waldo Emerson”

  1. WOW Angela, this was absolutely amazing and so full of real emotions! I have known what a talent you had with writing, but damn girl this takes you to an entirely new level of passion!


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