Avond (Evening): the Red tree. By Piet Mondrian.

Looks can be deceiving. It was as simple as that. Seeing her from far away, you would never know about what she thought of herself. Come a little closer, talk to her, and her friendly eyes and lopsided smile would put you at ease. She gave off that amicable vibe that made you comfortable and gave you the freedom to be yourself. Sit by for a little more time, and you would maybe discover that she’s not judgmental. Sensitive and caring, but not interfering. She would often wear dark coloured blouses that revealed a hint of her cleavage. Your first impression would be that she is confident in her body. That was all you gleaned when you saw her, when you talked to her.

But soon, if you managed to stick around long enough, the covers would begin to peel. Like a tree in autumn, the fleshy leaves would be shed and her bare bones, without any of her appearances would be visible to you. The grin and sparkling eyes that made you comfortable, were not really for your benefit. She liked to believe something good about herself, but that belief was unquestionably, almost dispassionately shattered by the Universe.

She got herself together and tried to regard herself intelligent in her own eyes. Not the smug air of a know-it-all, but the simple conviction that comes from just not feeling inferior to others. Then came the exams, and she failed them all. Destroyed.

She took particular care to dress up, and did her eyes really well. She looked at the mirror, took a deep breath, and said ‘You’re pretty, girl.’ And she gave herself that warm smile which always made people smile back in return, and she went out to face the day. She had a good time, believing she was good-looking, until in a mood of jest her room-mate turned around to watch while she was changing her top. She wasn’t a stranger to being called fat, but on this particular day: shattered.

She viewed things in perspective, tried to be serious and not just live in the moment. She tried to grin less and laugh more, like a lady. She tried not to sit on the chair with both her legs over one arm of the chair but cross-legged, gracefully. She tried to turn her hair a different way, she tried to look more ‘mature’. She tried to control circumstances, not to confide in those she loved. Broken, in more ways than one.

And yet. She never knew what she would be good for. People always said, ‘S is a good responsible person’, ‘B knows how to take of her issues quite well’, ‘J is the best person to talk to in a crisis’, but being someone else, what would she say about herself? Nothing to brag about. She very carefully ever thought anything good about herself. Even on the days she dared to think that she can make people comfortable easily or that she has a nice smile or pretty eyes, she would feel bad later, as if she was overestimating herself. As if she was painting the picture of a character from a book, someone she would like to be, not someone she is.

She is the best at being average. Yes, ‘ordinary’ was the word for her.

The tragedy was, she never saw herself equal even to that.


For The Speakeasy 153 

27 thoughts on “She.

  1. Sad,how most of us are caught in this net!Though,at times it is good to be a little critical of ourselves but if we continue to think that way,our self esteem takes a nose dive and we start losing confidence-develop complexes and so on.On the other hand,if we think too much of ourselves,we may become too proud and that is never good.The trick is to maintain the right balance -sigh!Excellent take on the prompt 🙂


  2. This is probably a pretty common story, in a way. No matter how hard we try to love and respect ourselves, outside influences creep in. Some are more vulnerable to it than others. Poor girl.


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