There was a time when time moved slowly, at least it felt like it. The times when I would spend hours staring at my image in the mirror.
Isn’t she glorious?
I’d smile and frown and practise a crying face in front of the mirror; a good mock audience. It showed me the replica of what I presented. Heavens knows I didn’t want to look ugly when I cried in front of my first boyfriend after he confessed his feelings for me. We all had such moments. Well,l at least every lady did. Maybe it’s my imagination but I think my sister does that too now. She is right about the age I was back then.
That was the time when life was simple and happiness was always blooming in the air around me. Those were the days I didn’t have to worry about what tomorrow would look like, what I would make for dinner or whether or not there will be a budget for dinner. Those were the days when all I needed to do was pass my exams and I would get a new dress of my choice, finish my house chores on time and get a twenty shillings coin to add to my little savings in my piggy bank.
Wait, what happened to my piggy bank?
I remember hustling my cousins a coin every chance I had. Every time I would do the dishes on their behalf, I would count the spoons and cups and plates and await the payment of my dues. Somehow I convinced myself that I was saving up for my wedding dress, THE WEDDING DRESS. I wanted a big church wedding. I believed that one can either go big or go home. A thirteen-year-old with big dreams.
Saturday mornings were my favourite. The only day we would get to have breakfast as a family. I would wake up to the sweet aroma of lemon porridge, a clear sign that daddy dearest is working out his magic in the kitchen. He had this cream brown bowl made of glass that he loved so much. He would cut his bread into pieces and mix it up with porridge in his favourite bowl then serve me mine; devouring. Somehow we would end up on the couch watching CNN with me pretending to understand what was going on.
As I said, those were the days when stress and worry were a myth; moments of pure happiness. I knew my dad would fix anything, he’d listen to me, he’d make that promise and keep it and most of all, he would work hard to provide me with my heart’s desires. He was the kind of dad that attended visiting days with everything on your shopping list, the kind that would celebrate every little victory as though you just won a lottery. He was the kind of dad that defended me in public and corrected me in private, the kind that wasn’t scared to tell the world how proud he was of his little girl and her little victories. He was my hero.
Do you remember when you wanted to grow up so fast and be an adult?
Well, if you don’t, I do. Biggest regret of my life. But we grow up anyway. Teenage me always thought about how being an adult involved more parties and less parental control. All I wanted was to go out and not have to explain where am going or what time I will be back. I just wanted more time to spend on TV and with friends who weren’t friends. And I convinced myself adult me would be better. So I had a plan, I laid it all out. I planned when I would finish high school, then campus, when I would get a job, when I would drive my first car and what kind it would be and most importantly when I would tie the knot in that big fancy wedding. But that’s just it, things aren’t always as they seem. I started as a vase and soon as every plan I made fell apart, I cracked, again and again. I became fragile.
Today I turn 26, yet nothing to show for it. I look around my room and all I see are disappointments. Somehow I can’t stop hearing the voices in my head condemning me for my failures in life. I pull up the duvet and cover my face with the hope of not having to relieve this nightmare yet again.
It’s around half past three in the afternoon and am still dragging my lazy self into bed wallowing in my pain, agony and frustrations. I take a look around my house and my eyes come across a beautiful family portrait taken during my graduation. Beautiful memories.
I can’t help but notice what a mess I’ve made out of the place.
Is that the dress I wore last Saturday to Jenna’s party?
How is it in the sink?
I had piled up dishes and dirty laundry scattered all over the place.
I still had boxes of unpacked things laying around scattered everywhere in my new little apartment. That’s what happens when you lose your job and can no longer afford the three- lavish apartments you used to brag about in front of all your peers.
I get out of bed and try to get myself together.
‘Ouch! Damn these heels.’
‘What a way to start a morning in the middle of the day. Did it really have to be in the way?’
Something of pure glamour captures my attention. There it was, exactly as I dreamed of. Hanging on my wardrobe reflects pure purity and beauty. This is what would have been my wedding dress had Jake not decided to get into bed with my best friend Sarah. It’s funny how the crumbling down of a stone house begins with one stone. This was my first disaster.
So I walk up to the small open kitchen and can’t help but stare at the banana peels laying around next to the spoilt bananas. I open up the fridge and it’s empty. I have absolutely nothing to eat. Not even a banana.
I stare into the mirror ( for the old time ) trying to recognize the girl on the other end.
My skin is different, it’s not as far as it used to be yet it’s nothing a little makeup can’t fix.
“Mirror Mirror on the wall, who is the gangsta of them all?”
It’s not like a mirror can talk back, can it?
Maybe it’s true what they say about me, am just a rose flower slowly withering away awaiting its petals to fall one by one.
From the rear view of the mirror, I could see my family’s portrait.
There it was, daddy’s big smile. No one could say no to that, not even Mother Teresa. It was warm and reassuring. A feeling of home. It was exactly the kind of motivation I needed. Suddenly, I felt the urge to make some lemon porridge. My dad was my Hero, it was time I returned the favour and be the little girl that always made him proud. It was time I rebuild my life bit by bit. So I stood exactly where it started, in front of a mirror and I did what I know how to do best. I planned.
I may have been a broken vase with a withering rose, but that doesn’t mean I can’t hold a fresh one, so buy me a rose.
How about a change of clothes before we have this cup of lemon porridge?
How about the beautiful gown in white?
Do you remember when you wanted to grow up so fast and become an adult?
How’s that working out for you ?