Mirror, Mirror

Jane slumped at a secluded table, sloshing her drink. Her head throbbed with the heat and music, and she was already craving another smoke.

Ellen smiled. “So you decided to come then.”

“I guess.”

“You don’t look happy to see me.”

“No, it’s not that.”

“What then?”

Jane’s eyes dropped to Ellen’s dress, identical to her own, only on Ellen, it looked as perfect as it had on the shop mannequin.

“Oh,” said Ellen in mock sympathy. “I’m sorry I didn’t know you’d wear the same thing.”

Jane said nothing. She sipped her drink; something blue that tasted as foul as it looked. Her gaze drifted to a group of guys crowded into a booth. They looked fit, rugby players maybe, and made short work of their drinks, as they laughed and joked like idiotically teens. One man glanced surreptitiously their way. Jane smiled then looked away, crestfallen. He was looking at Ellen, they always looked at Ellen, tall, blonde, thin, perfect Ellen.

Ellen said, “You’re not his type. You’re too fat.”

Jane stared at her drink, blinking tears fiercely but refusing to let Ellen see her weakness. She caught her reflection somewhere, jerked quickly away from the face that looked back at her.

Mirrors. There were too many mirrors. Above the tables, behind the bar. Every pane of glass betrayed her. The way her dress bulged in the middle. The mole on her throat that no amount of makeup would remove. The pudginess of her face and teeth yellowed by coffee and nicotine.

“Why do you do this to me?”

Ellen ignored the question. “You could have him. A few more drinks and he’d fuck anything, even you.”

“I don’t want him.”

“Of course you want him,” said Ellen. “I know you, little miss horny. When was the last time you got a root?”

Jane’s cheeks burned. “You know nothing about me.”

“Fine, I’ll have him then.”

“No, don’t you dare!”

Ellen laughed. “I knew it.”

“I hate you,” Jane whispered.

“You’re nothing without me, and you know it,” Ellen sneered, standing suddenly and glowering down at her. “Stay here, I’m tired of you hanging on to me everywhere I go.”

Ellen stormed away, squeezing through the press of bodies, all tits and arse and scowls. She swept passed the guys’ booth, heading towards the toilets. Anger radiated from her as she pushed open the door.

The toilet was deserted. Her nose wrinkled with the reek of vomit, piss and cigarette smoke. She came to the washbasin, the mirror was smudged with grime and lipstick. Jane’s plump face looked back at her, makeup stained by tears. She glared at the reflected features, teeth bared in an ugly snarl. She reached inside her handbag and withdrew a nail file. She held it before the mirror, teasing Ellen before pressing it into her cheek until blood flowed freely.

Ellen hissed through clenched teeth as she drew a long crimson line. “I hate you.”

“Please don’t,” Jane whispered.