Mirrors Do Tell Lies | Teen Ink

Mirrors Do Tell Lies

May 13, 2014
By jenx0x3 DIAMOND, Swampscott, Massachusetts
jenx0x3 DIAMOND, Swampscott, Massachusetts
68 articles 0 photos 90 comments

Isabel stood before the dresser perfecting the art of mascara, a glassy girl with a hard mouth staring back at her. She spread concealer over the skin that was blue beneath her eyes. She couldn’t seem to remember the last time she had gotten a goodnights sleep; it felt like ages ago. Isabel was tired, but her heels waited impatiently by the door.
She stood barefoot and tiptoed, making final adjustments. Isabel noticed the hard line of her mouth. Her mouth was stubborn, even when her mind was somewhere else. Maybe that’s why her parents yelled so much.

Isabel flipped her hair over her shoulder and reminded herself that she was, in fact, the Ames’ daughter. She had the body, eyes, porcelain face, and dark hair to prove it. She forced her face into a winning smile, one that she always had success with when it came to the boys.

Isabel’s smile dissipated, leaving only a persistent line. She could never be good enough, she knew that, but it didn’t stop her from trying.

“Isabel!” footsteps echoed through the hall and suddenly her mother was clicking into her room.

“That’s a nice color.” Isabel rolled her eyes.

She wished her mother would notice, just so that she wouldn’t have to go to the stupid dinner party. Or, at the very least, she wished her eyes would get stuck in the back of her head.

Mrs. Ames addressed her daughter’s royal blue dress for the evening. Compliments were practically non-existent in the Ames household, especially from the queen of hearts; Isabel took what she could get.

Isabel would give anything for a compliment from her mother, especially when all her mind did, was tear herself down.

Isabel was constantly in a war with her mind. Even when her hair was curled and she had makeup on, her mother always managed to pick out something, some flaw that would make her efforts futile.

Isabel tapped her index finger to her lip, “Mom. Don’t you have to fix your hair or something?”

The tone in her voice was harsh, harsher then she expected, but her conscience applauded.
Her mother was all dolled up; this made Isabel feel like she was being poked with a stick, right under her ribcage. When she went bare, no makeup, dress up, or hair-doing, she felt like a fat scarecrow; somehow, her mother never went bare.

Isabel glanced back at her own reflection, and this time the smile came easily; she was proud of her work.

Mrs. Ames plucked a sweater from the walk in closet and exited the room with the same aptness as she had when she had entered. An exasperated sigh escaped her lips, at just the right moment for Isabel to hear. Isabel’s eyebrows cringed.

Her heels met the wood floor as her mother headed down the hall: a habit from a lifetime of ballet lessons. Isabel dismissed the mirror and it’s need for her attention; she would never measure up to her mother, and that was just beginning to sink in.

She slipped her feet into the nude heels, her mother didn’t want her to wear them, but to Isabel they felt as if they where a part of her body. She touched the curl hanging over her shoulder, satisfied, and exited the room. Leaving all her memories with it.

Dinner at Davios was a given, and a Silvestre tradition; one that was now uninteresting and grating to Isabel. She could only tolerate so much talk about politics before it began rubbing her the wrong way.

“Why don’t they put that man behind bars already?”

“Because Stewart, he’s a genius, one that we need in the firm. It’s not my fault he likes his drink on the rocks.” By this time, Isabel’s father’s tie was loosened and golden liquor sat in his crystal glass.

It wasn’t rare for her to attend he father’s business dinners and she had gotten used to seeing suit sleeves rolled up to elbows. She felt her clutch vibrate against her leg; it was probably Alexis, complaining that her mother bought her the wrong color designer bag, again. Alexis could never be pleased.

“Isabel.” Her mother’s sweet tone sickened her. It was all a veneer and Isabel knew it. She resisted the urge to make a scene. Instead, she ordered the usual and sat back in her chair, dismissing the waiter with stiff shoulders.

Isabel sat like a doll, perfect posture; hands carefully folded in her lap and watched her father rope in clients with faulty promises.

She had carefully perfected the act of turning on autopilot around her parents. The depression that was slowly creeping beneath her skin and into her blood stream knew how to paralyze her.

Her father just assumed that her stiffness was out of obedience, and her mother didn’t seem to notice; in reality, depression was taking over. It was actually making Isabel take a back seat in the car that was her life.

Mrs. Ames enjoyed watching the men getting red faced and robust with alcohol. Isabel didn’t understand how her father could bare to watch as Mrs. Ames wore one low cut dress after the other.

“Chicken Marsala, side Caesar salad.” Isabel’s eyes flitted to the waiter out of habit.

“Right over here.” Her mother gestured to where Isabel was sitting, to her left.
He was hot, Isabel thought as he made his way around the table. She sat up straight and squared her shoulders. It never failed in making her feel superior.

Her eyes begged to take another glance at him; Isabel could almost feel the body heat from his skin as he placed the plate in front of her. Without warning, her eyes moved and she was caught off guard.

When his eyes met hers, Isabel had an out of body experience. She could see, hear and smell the food that was being put in front of her, she could watch it happen, but she couldn’t seem to move or react towards it. Isabel’s conscience kicked her. The food waited for her expectantly, but she couldn’t look at it without her stomach turning.

She knew that she had to snap out of it, but she just couldn’t seem to shake the feeling that was plaguing her.

Isabel’s mom broke the silence, her voice louder then expected. Isabel shook herself, and then picked up her fork to continue playing her role of concerned daughter.

She knew that if her parents even suspected something was going on, they would over react; they always did.

“Do you guys ever talk about something else?” Isabel quickly glanced at her mother, just in time to catch her recomposing herself.

“I mean, who really cares about politics?” she held back a grin.

Her father sat back in his chair, eyes panicked, praying that the men would be too drunk to notice the underlying tone of Isabel’s question. Isabel knew exactly how to get to her parents; sometimes she just wanted to test herself, see if she still got it.

One of the men cleared his throat, the wider one, with sweat dewing on his forehead. Isabel nodded her head mechanically, the smile in tact, and zoned out as he tried to explain his job to her. Men were so dumb.

Isabel could remember a time, vaguely, when she had confided in her older sister. She had sat on her sister’s bed and talked about the way she couldn’t understand her feelings. How one minute she was laughing, and the next, she just felt sad. The sadness clung to her; it was the stubborn barnacle at the bottom of a boat.

Now, her sister acted as if Isabel didn’t exist; she almost preferred it that way. Isabel could care less what her sister preferred.

She placed her napkin on the table, “May I be excused.”

Isabel batted her eyelashes to her mother. She received a stiff nod. With that, she pushed back from the table and headed in the direction of the bathroom. It was time to reapply her makeup.

A blur of white, carrying a tray of food, narrowly missed her head. Isabel whipped around.

“He-“ She stopped mid-word.

There was the guy. He stood in front of her, Isabel’s mouth hanging open, like a dumb blowfish.
His eyes smiled, he had caught her off guard. Again.
This was foul play.

“So sorry miss.” He said, a grin playing at his lips.

Isabel hated those lips, “Don’t you have waitressing to do?”

And with that, he was gone. With an aggravated sigh, she headed to the restroom.

Isabel tapped her heel impatiently as the men took their sweet time. Her mother laughing while they fumbled over their words and slung on their coats.
That was the last time she let her guard down.

Now she was an expert at hiding it. When it came to her family, she knew just what buttons to press and where. It was the same with her high school; the boys just naturally fell at her feet. It frustrated her that one guy, somehow managed to trip her up. By the time Isabel had made it back to the table and settled back into her act of “faking normal”, dinner had almost ended. She could never let her guard down, ever again.

At the end of the night, she was left with this hollow feeling, a feeling that she was all too familiar with. In the end she only had herself, and the drawer next to her bed. Once Isabel slid the wooden drawer ajar, the blade was there, taunting her. She grasped the blade and let it bite into her skin.

Concealing it was a job for another day.

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