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The fairest of them all

1

Art by John Chesleigh Nofiel

A man going to work in a tie and long sleeves stopped in front of a mirror. It was owned by a homeless family sleeping just below the staircase of the underpass. He thought he was having hallucinations, seeing that the mirror reflected him as a little boy wearing shorts and tsinelas, playing with a paper plane. Later that night, he called his mom saying he will be coming home, after all these years.

A lady with a red, tight skirt and silver hanging blouse that revealed most of her skin saw the mirror too, that night when she was about to perform in a club. She was confused as her reflection revealed her teenage days, wearing her high school uniform and holding a certificate that said “First Honor.” She ditched work and thought about flipping through the pages of classified ads to look for another job. She decided it’s time to consider going back to school.

A teenage girl with scars on her wrists and a cigarette in her mouth noticed the same mirror. She watched a little girl faking her sleep just to be carried to bed. She called the boy who was waiting for her in the city park, and said she changed her mind. She didn’t want to run away anymore.

An old woman walking with a cane wanted to check what was stuck between her teeth. She found the mirror on the underpass and saw her 40-year-old self in the reflection, cooking meals for her son. He hasn’t gone home ever since she disapproved of the woman he married. She finally decided to pay him a visit.

Meanwhile, a kid watched all these from the stair where he sleeps. He wondered why all the people who took time to look at their mirror either cried or smiled like someone just whispered them a sweet endearment. He got up and looked closely at the mirror and saw nothing but his reflection—of filthy clothes and crooked teeth that say I’ve got a can half-full of coins.