The Mirror, By Lily Abedin
Editor's Note: Lily Abedin is a Junior at the NYC Lab School. She enjoys cooking, traveling, and reading.
As I lie plastered against the stone cold walls of this castle, I cannot help but think of years passed. The life of a magic mirror has little to offer, I know, but what good am I doing hanging down here, answering this evil woman’s question day after day without change?
“You are the fairest of them all." My hollow tongue nearly chokes on the words. Luckily for me, this vain, vile Queen does not know the truth about my ways. That whole “I only speak the truth” bit is quite genius, if I do say so myself. I tell people what they want to hear, and they are convinced it must be so; I claim anything as truth by merely responding in a mystical tone.
Alas, there was a time when I was more than a floating voice of validation, but that was many years ago ... right before the death of my beloved and true Queen, and right after the birth of her “marvelous” little girl, Snow White. For years, the first sight I saw every morning were her beautiful eyes gazing at me, and her sweet smile bidding me goodnight was the last before I slept. She was never asking how fair she was, or hanging me in the dungeon to be used at only her disposal; she was a true beauty all around. I remember the morning that we got the news, when she asked me if her prayers had been answered.
“O mirror ...” she started, her hands floating effortlessly up to touch her stomach, “Mirror, am I to be finally blessed? Am I carrying the child, the daughter, I have been longing for?”
I knew I was in no real position to answer, but I didn’t have to...it was obvious that she was glowing. She beamed and drifted on a cloud for the next nine months, with a twinkle in her eye wherever she was. Each morning, she would arise from bed, cradle her stomach and sing to her blessed unborn child. Not a touch of despair could have the temerity to intrude upon her smile.
Until one day, when things went horribly wrong. The child was due, and the midwife was by her side all day. She cried in agony for hours on end with nothing to ease her pain. There was nothing I could do to calm her down or ease her suffering; it was torture for all around. After one last scream, her dream child entered the world crying. But the Queen, my dear Queen, did not make a sound. She was not glowing, she was not beaming, and she was not moving. I knew it before anyone had to say a word. Our Queen, my Queen, was dead.
Since that day I cannot bear to look at that child. Beautiful? Fair? Lovely? Sweet? How can people can say such things when they know what she did to her mother. Snow White’s glorious arrival only brought more misfortune upon us all. The King remarried, and by the new Queen’s command, I was sent to live -- or rather, waste away -- in this dungeon, and permitted only to answer to her. Every morning, she strides down the stairs with her black cloak, and equally black heart, to ask me if she is the “fairest of them all.” The only one worse than she, of course, is Snow White. That girl waltzes through life as if she has never harmed a soul. You’ve harmed me, Snow White, and now it is your turn.
“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” the Queen snapped in her usual tone. Only this morning, she was not going to be given her daily response.
“You are fair, dear Queen (ugh), this is true. But young Snow White is much more fair than you.” I declared, holding back the smirk that came from her reaction.
Her face flushed at the horror she just heard, and I stared innocently right back at her. After she shrieked and hurried up the stairs, I was left with my satisfaction. Of course hearing such a pure fact would anger the Queen and force Snow White away forever, giving me, and her dear, fallen mother, the justice that we deserved. Do not worry my Queen, I will never forget what "darling" Snow White did. And I will never forget you.
Image by John Batten.