(This one got a little weird on me, but it was the only thing I could think of apart from vampires.)
Jen sighed as she stared into the mirror. It was Saturday morning, and so far, she'd been all by herself. The reflection in the mirror showed nothing but an empty bedroom. The posters on the wall and decorations she hung were all absent in the mirror's image. And so was she. There was nothing but an empty bedroom that, to see it the mirror, nobody lived in.
She cherished these moments.
"Whatever." She said, stretching, "Can't spend all day in here."
The room behind her was messy. Clothes were thrown about haphazardly, and vinyls were scattered on the floor by her old vinyl player. The mess might not have been very zen, but at least it was her mess. She knew she'd miss it in a few minutes.
She dressed the way she wanted to dress, in an old Ramones shirt, a flannel skirt and a black tights. She didn't bother with her hair, since it barely mattered. There was no way she was getting out of the house without running into at least one of her family members. She reached for the Ipod on her stand, only to find that it had disappeared on her.
"Motherfucker!" She cursed.
Opening her door, she stepped out into the hall. It was lined with pictures of her sister and mother. There were only vague silhouettes where she was supposed to be.
As she descended to living room, a clock with a mirror face greeted her. It chimed for noon. No reflection present. So far; so good. At least until her mother spoke up.
"About time you got up, Jennifer!" She said, "Breakfast is ready."
She wrinkled her nose as the sudden weight of glasses on her nose. Her eyes took a second to adjust, and when they did, she had a reflection to stare at.
The girl in the clock face had hair brown hair done up in a ponytail. She wore a navy sweater, with a rolled up blouse underneath. She had khaki capris and black kitten heels. She looked prim and proper to a T. It was the reflection of Jennifer, not Jen.
She wandered into the kitchen and got a can of coke from the fridge. On the door, an A+ graded essay by Jennifer Whitner about the economy of Nepal hung on a magnet. Experience taught her that it had not been there five minutes ago.
She turned to her mother, dressed in business clothes despite it being the weekend.
"Work called, huh?" She said, taking a seat at the kitchen counter.
"Yes." Her Mom said, "One of our top clients called in. His son was apparently caught on his third DUI, and he needs immediate advice about the school threatening to kick him out."
"Sounds like they should go for it." Jen said.
Her mother smiled at her.
"I really lucked out with you, you know." She said, kissing her on the temple.
"Of course you did. I'm just perfect for you." She thought, ruefully, "At least she means well."
"You seen my Ipod?" Jen asked, pulling away quickly, "I need it to uh...get some ambiance while I study."
"I borrowed it for my run this morning. I didn't want to wake you, but I can't find mine."
That made her angry. Her Ipod was her only armor. At least her family's desires were mundane and good natured. God only knows what could happen if the wrong stranger talked to her.
"Well, please wake me next time." She said, "I don't like my things disappearing."
She must have sensed the harshness in her daughter's voice, because she backed up. "Well, it's on the island. Got any plans for today."
She shrugged, parroting what she knew her mother wanted to hear against her own will.
"I was going to go volunteer at the library." She said, "Maybe study a bit this evening."
"Good girl. Make sure you brush up on math. A C from you is not acceptable."
She had to chuckle at that. Sucking at math was one of the few constants in her life.
"Sure thing Mom."
With a kiss on the cheek, she was alone again. Yet she remained Jennifer. That was easy enough to fix, though.
Jen stuffed the earbuds in her ear. The Ipod was Jennifer's, not hers, and was filled with the adult contemporary music that was at best tolerable and at worst nausea inducing. She settled on Paul Simon, turning the volume up just loud enough to drown out everything else.
*The girl does what she wants to do,
She knows what she wants to do
And I know I'm fakin' it,
I'm not really makin' it.*
She was seconds away from opening the door, when a hand reached out and touched her shoulder. There was a sharp jerk as her right ear was brought back to the outside world.
"Hey! Earth to Jeni!" Her sister Tina said, "Are you gonna ignore me or what."
"Sorry." Jen said, hearing Katy Perry blasting in one ear, "I couldn't hear you."
"You shouldn't listen to that so loud. You're gonna get brain damage or something."
The battle already lost, Jen jerked the other headphone out. She felt a bit of a chill as she discovered she was wearing a bikini top, short shorts and flip flops. Even her purse had become something small and slender. Her hair was blonde now, falling about her shoulders in styled waves.
"What are you up to today? Going beaching?" The 15 year old cheerleader asked her.
"Isn't that what it looks like?" She asked, more testily than she intended.
Tina rolled her eyes.
"I need a ride to school, but I guess you're going the other way."
"What are you doing at school?" She asked.
"Watching the football practice. Duh." Tina said, "They're doing tryouts today. I don't wanna miss it."
"Talk to Sherry across the street. She'll probably be looking for her next victim there."
The two paused for a minute before bursting out in giggles.
"You're totally right. She's SO annoying, but I guess it's better than nothing."
The two hugged and Tina scuffled off next door.
She reapplied the headphones. Nikki Minaj was playing something completely horrible in her ears, but it was still a safer bet than risking one of the neighbors talking to her.
*"You need to know your station, Roman
Some alterations on your clothes and your brain
(Get me out of here, mother)
Take a little break, little break"*
It was all she could bare, but she went on out to her old jeep. She would drive down to the beach, she knew, and spend the day laying in the sun, chatting with girls she didn't like and flirting with boys she had no interest in. It was like she was on autopilot. And the things the girls and boys at the beach wanted from her would be even worse than what her preppy, popular sister did. She wanted to cry. She wanted to scream. Instead, she turned her music up and tapped her fingers to that horrible beat as she started the car.
Then a miracle happened. The music faded. Her ringtone played in her ear, and she could feel her purse vibrate as the Ipod she was listening to informed her that her phone was getting a call.
She reached down, and saw the name, saying a silent prayer to the beautiful name on display.
"Hey Tim!" She said, answering it.
"Hey, Jen." Her boyfriend's voice said, "You busy today?"
There were a few people, not many, but a few, who had met Jen as Jen. And they liked her for who she was. They had no expectations of who she should be; they simply loved her for who she was. Tim was one of those people, and he couldn't have called at a better time.
"Nothing, Tim. Absolutely nothing." She said, fighting back tears.
"You okay? You sound off."
"It's fine. It's fine." She said, sniffling, "I just need to see you today."
"Uh...yeah. Sure. We were gonna go down to the lake. You wanna come with or should I just meet you someplace?"
"Meet me. Just us." She said, "I wanna be me today."
"Uhm...okay." He said, confused, "I guess I'll see you?"
"Yeah. Come meet me at my place."
She breathed a sigh of relief. In her lap, the Clash growled out a tune about Janie Jones. And when she looked in the mirror, she saw nothing at all.