ghost castle

changing faces

it's been a long time since i've looked myself in the mirror. i try to avoid it whenever i can, glancing up to ensure my hair is brushed right or that there isn't anything caught in my yellow, stained teeth. making eye contact with myself is horrible. like getting confirmation,

yes, this really is you.

same thin lips. same lumpy nose. same dead eyes. same tangle of hair.

but today, for some reason, was different. i woke up late. slammed down all my medicine. drank a tall glass of water. and when i caught myself in the mirror. . . i just stopped. it was a quiet, slow, timid moment. my brow was furrowed, my mouth in a firm, but slight, frown. but as i glanced over and over the face, i saw it soften. its jaw unclenched, its brow relaxed.

i noticed, for the first time, the softness of this face's lips. i noticed the delicate, even coloration; i noticed their cupid's bow upper lip; i noticed the tiniest scar i'd never seen before; their defined, teardrop-shaped philtrum. i noticed their nose, soft, kind, a bit round. my eyes drifted to their thin eyebrows, up, to the curls of dark, flowing, untamed hair, down to their eyes. and in them, i saw a deep well that i'd never noticed before, somehow right there but ever elusive, like a sun that shines on everything except me. and i saw compassion, and kindness, and intelligence and strength; i felt my heart well up, my chest set aflame; i breathed life raggedly in and breathed hurt evenly out; and i thought to myself, confused, surprised —

is this really me?