On reflections

July 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

The lighting in these communal changing rooms doesn’t flatter anyone; even here, where it’s a cut above the municipal facilities, the woman sitting at the mirror can choose only to peer at herself in half-darkness or be exposed under a spotlight.

She is right at the end of the room, with mirrors and lockers echoing back behind her, and she is applying moisturiser after a swim. The room is mercifully empty – no eyes to catch, no bodies to consider, whether blatantly or covertly – until a woman appears in the background of the reflection, naked after a shower.

See the seated woman catch herself as she looks at the naked woman. Know that she is looking at this woman’s body, the long slender limbs, the lack – at this distance – of visibly sagging flesh or cellulite. Know too that our woman has, whilst rubbing cream into her face, been tracing with her fingers the lines on her face, trying not to notice the new grey at her hairline.

Be unable to deny that just as these women compare themselves to one another, these spaces being courtrooms in a different guise, their most harsh judgements and most brutal sentencing falls, inevitably, upon themselves.

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