Mitzi left her office trying to remain confidant. Her sister's wedding had been scheduled that evening at the most fanciest banquet hall in town. All of her family would be there, including friends from far and wide. Her mother had meticulously helped her select her matron of honor dress from a fancy wedding catalogue. The shoes had been delivered by UPS that afternoon. One of her co-workers had a part time job at a nail boutique and did a superb job of touching up her manicure. Only one thing left to do. Get that rag-tag mop of hair tamed into the perfect updo. So, with many qualms beginning to come forward, she walked to the door of the ritzy boutique. She peaked inside. Yes, the receptionist stood at the counter and smiled. Inhaling, Mitzy bravely stepped in.
"May I help you?" the receptionist asked.
"Yes, I'm Mitzy Reynolds. I have an appointment. The last one."
The receptionist warm smile disintegrated. Her eyes narrowed.
"Oh, yes. They mentioned that you were coming in," she said and dug under her counter. She stepped out, a long scarf in hand, "Ok, let's do this."
Mitzi turned her back to the receptionist, already feeling her cheeks warm in embarrassment, but what could she do? There was no other way. The receptionist wrapped the scarf around her eyes, shielding everything from view. With a steady hand, she led her back to a separate room, to get her hair washed. And then she helped her get into a padded chair, designed to be raised up and down.
"I'm Carol, your hairdresser for today," a soft voice announced and Mitzi felt someone raise the chair, grasp her long locks, and begin combing out her hair. She snipped, blow-dried, and curl ironed her hair, working in complete silence. Mitzi could tell that the hairdresser had skills. She never felt a hard tug or feel the heat of the curling iron too close to her skin.
"This is a work of art, if I don't mind saying so," Carol breathed out at last. "Are you sure you don't want to look?"
"I can't," Mitzi gasped, although her mind was curious. Sometime in the future, after wedding pictures would be shared within the family, she would see the outcome.
"How do you go everyday doing your hair?" Carol asked. Obviously her curiosity was up as well, "I'm so sorry to pry, but this is a mystery to me. Although I don't mind the extra hundred bucks your mother sent for my work today. I just can't imagine going day to day avoiding mirrors. What is your condition called? Is there a name for it?"
"Yes, it's called catoptrophobia, a fear of mirrors; and no, it's not easy applying makeup, brushing my teeth, dressing, or doing my hair. I keep things very simple and a lot is done by feel and guessing. I always hope for the best."
"What happened to you?" Carol gasped," Were you always this way?"
Mitzi blew out a breath and shook her head.
"I don't think so. Not that I can recall. All I know is when I was very small, I wanted to dress up for Halloween. My mother made me a vampire costume and did my face in white makeup. She made my eyes black and red. I must have been about three or so. My bedroom led out to a wall separating the kitchen and the large dining room. On it was a huge mirror."
Mitzi paused, her mind spinning. She began to quiver and felt her pulse race.
"So....what was wrong with that?" Carol asked.
"I went by the mirror. I saw my reflection. I didn't recognize myself. All I saw was this horrible creature and it frightened me to death. I could never walk by it again. I'd access the other rooms by the kitchen or I'd duck my head going by. Ever since, I've avoided all mirrors. I just can't face what's there."
"Oh, I see," Carol said and placed warm hands upon Mitzi's shoulders, "Honey, that was so long ago. You must understand by now, it was all makeup for Halloween. It's suppose to be scary. Now that you're an adult, can't you trust that the mirror may behold something very beautiful instead? Won't you trust me to show you that?"
"I suppose," Mitzi nodded, feeling suddenly drained from all the times she purposely avoided the one bathroom mirror in her apartment. Many times it felt so silly doing things the way she had for over two-thirds of her twenty two years. She just couldn't bring herself to trust. Still, with Carol's warm hands rubbing her shoulders, she felt something change inside.
She heard Carol walk around to her front side. She felt the chair turn in her direction. The same warm hands undid the scarf and slowly pull it away. Mitzi opened her eyes to the light and made out a beautiful woman, with coal eyes and dark hair. Her eyes expressed compassion and strength.
"Ok. Let's try this, really slow. If you get afraid, just close your eyes," Carol instructed, "Are you ready?"
"Yes," Mitzi whispered and her hands clenched down upon the seat handles. She felt her fingers go numb. Slowly Carol turned her around. Mitzi stared into the mirror. The shock she felt was not one of fear, but of amazement. The three year old monster she had last seen in the reflection was no longer there. Instead, a woman looked back, with honey-tone skin, chestnut brown eyes, and mocha lips. Her auburn hair had tiny ringlets of curls sweep about to frame her small face, while the rest sat on top as if waiting for a tiara. Mitzi touched her cheeks, her lips, and then leaned forward to look closer. She realized she didn't feel afraid anymore, "Why... I'm beautiful!"
"Yes, you are, honey. Very. A work of art," Carol agreed, smiling wide, knowing that she just witnessed a miracle in Mitzi's life. Never again, should she feel threatened by that mirror again.