Reflections - Anmoldeep Kaur
This job feels more villainous than I would have assumed but I was naïve to the realities of this city and needed the cash. My position makes me well acquainted to the grief and desperation of lost souls. I started to sweep the floor when a woman walked in. Her wool cape floated behind her and her height commanded pupils to the sky. Her lustrous hair fell gracefully above her shoulders and real diamonds danced all over her body. A wave of roses was now fighting the ever-present decay our senses readily embraced. She was a foreigner to these walls. What could she possibly be here for? She should have a trust fund to turn to or an account overflowing with money at her disposal. As she walked up to the counter, the light filled cracks in the marbles situated in the almond crevices of her face. She placed her leather bag on the counter, and surrendered herself.
She began with the ring on her left index finger and placed it carefully before me. She fought to free herself of the silver snake whose body wrapped itself around her wrist. Next, she unhooked the necklace that left behind a glow around her neck; The pear-shaped jewel that hung of its chain trapped a puddle of darkness. The swaying anchors attached to her earlobes refused to let go. Time trickled by, and the silence tortured me as she continued to strip down the ornaments of deception and distraction until the harsh light engulfed her and reflected back onto me through her eyes. As she came closer, the shade beneath her eyes illuminated. It was far too deep and dark for a woman of her status and age. They were the same depths I swam in as a child; The same pain filled crescents I had tried to smooth out with my fingers on my mother’s face. Her presence made all of us awkward, conscious of the blemishes we adorned, because even in her forlorn visage she radiated a richness that forced us to marvel in defeat. Her worn down voice shattered the silence as she asked how much all she had conceded was worth. Out of my depth, I called Marlo to complete the transaction. He first checked the authenticity, merely a formality in this case. When he handed her a bundle of cash, the ring that was still clawing onto her finger clashed against the table. It wasn’t the noise that startled her but rather the presence of the ring itself, and she scrambled to pull it off. She was reckless with this one, slamming it onto the glass making us all shudder. With a new voice that she now had a firm command over, she demanded the price of the ring. But Marlo refused to buy it. He argued that he didn’t want to invite trouble since last time we bought a ring it turned out to be stolen. Her hands began to shake as her hands held up her head. She took the cash Marlo gave her before and slipped it into her bag. She was physically but her expression made it quite clear that her thoughts were at war. She had travelled back in time and was living in a moment that was making her eyes twitch. I watched as she attempted to put the ring back on but every time it reached her knuckle, she winced. Defeated, she left it on the corner of the table and left the shop like a gust of wind being pulled back into the eye of the storm. Marlo hadn’t noticed the sparkling stone but if he had, he would have pocketed it.
I looked out on the street and found her staring into the window of the toy store across the street. But as she shifted her balance to the right, it became clear she was polishing her reflection. She patted down the corner of her eyes and pinched at the apples of her cheeks, and then after a deep breath she practiced her smile and tuned her laughter.
A little girl tugging at the corner of her coat and after practicing for a few more moments, she turned around and gave her best performance. But children always know, we can see it in their eyes. I threw myself onto the street trying my best to catch up to her. I traced the blur her figure had become through the bustling streets and paralyzed it with my scream. I handed her the cash and her silence tackled me, forcing me to escape. The street was loud but I could feel her sobs capsize the ground I stood on but radiate warmth into her daughter’s shoulders. Tracing the contours of my expression, I dragged myself closer to the reflection in the window pane. But as I locked eyes with the man that stood before me, it was clear he was examining me as well. He placed on me a shroud of disgust under which I was to shatter and leave the pieces behind.
Anmoldeep Kaur is a seventeen year old from New York who loves exploring the world through her writing. She is a writer for her school's newspaper and the ability to create intricate images, characters, and worlds through words is what she loves about the craft of writing.