I’ve been thinking a lot about reflections, about how they at first appear to be a replica of what they reflect. Upon second glance one sees the subtle nuances, the ripples, the distortions that make a reflection parallel but not identical. The longer one looks, the more disparate the two become. Eventually, the reflection develops a uniqueness and a difference, born of the item before it yet taking on a life of its own.
I suppose that is how I always viewed myself; as a reflection of Tina. We have the same ebony hair, wildly curly, the same cinnamon eyes, rich like father’s dark brew, and the same crooked smile. Somehow, though, I am always a lesser version of her. My curls are more unruly than wild, my eyes have golden flecks that make them appear tarnished, and I rarely smile. Tina shines. I suppose I should say Tina did shine. It is proper to refer to her in the past tense. Tina’s desk is gone now.
Perhaps I should feel better now that I am no longer just a reflection of Tina. Instead, I feel terrified. When Tina was present, people didn’t look too closely at me. Now they are sure to see those nuances, the little disturbances that make me dissimilar. Singular is wrong. We are all a reflection of Her, our similarities a tribute to Her greatness. Too many ripples in the water and one becomes dissident. Dissention is immoral. Father says that they cast the immoral from the city to wander alone in the desert until the heat consumes them. I do not wish to be destroyed by heat, to evaporate into nothingness.
Tina is–was–a perfect reflection of Her, just like Mother. Father says that my time is coming. Soon, he will carry my desk out of the room, just as he carried out Tina’s. I will be given to a man. He will look at me like Father looks at Mother. Surely, then, he will see how disparate I have become, and I will burn up in the blowing sands. Worse, maybe he will not notice my uniqueness, and I will sob like Mother does each night. Is it better to drown or to burn?
For now, I sit at my desk and read about Her. I do not know if I will face the unrelenting sun or the swallowing sea, but somehow I will be consumed. I am no longer the reflection, I have taken on a life of my own, and that is the most dangerous thing a girl can do.