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I’m beautiful.” Kelly lied to her reflection in the mirror. A tear trickled from her eye. She ignored it as it trickled down her cheek. If she really was beautiful, then Brad would have noticed her somewhere throughout the four long years of high school. Soon, she would graduate, and she might never see him again. Desperately, she flipped through the Yellow Pages in search of a cosmetic surgeon. She walked in for her appointment with a newfound sense of confidence.

“What can you do for me?” She asked.

The doctor shrugged: “Rhinoplasty, liposuction, breast enhancement… What can you afford?”


Kelly returned home and ransacked her parents’ valuables for anything she could pawn.

# # #

She awoke following surgery and forced her words through swollen lips: “Am I beautiful now?”

“Absolutely,” the doctor stood over her. “If I weren’t twice your age, I’d date you.”

“Give me a mirror.”

“No, Kelly. There’s still a lot of swelling. Give it a few days.”

He patted her arm reassuringly and left. But Kelly couldn’t wait. She signed herself out of the hospital and went to school, sporting a low-cut blouse and spike heels. Entering the cafeteria, she spotted Brad sitting at a table. His hazel eyes widened as she stomped toward him.

“Hi, Brad.”

She leaned over so he could better see her enhanced cleavage. Instead of showing any appreciation for the pain she had endured for him, he got up and left.

Kelly considered her options. She couldn’t go home, as her parents would most surely kill her. She did have some money left over that she still owed the doctor, however…

# # #

She sat on the airplane, staring into her compact. The man beside her shifted uncomfortably.

“That mirror is reflecting light into my eyes. Can you put it away?”

She turned to him sharply: “It’s not easy being beautiful, Mister.”

The man raised an eyebrow.

“I’m going to New York to become a model, if you must know.” She snapped the compact shut and stared into the distance. “In the past, beauty had the power to sink ships. Now, it can crash planes.”

The plane hit a pocket of turbulence and she looked to him for affirmation, but his head was lolling to one side as he snored happily away. Once again, she removed her compact: “I lost everything for the sake of beauty,” she told her reflection.

A tear trickled from her eye and she wiped it quickly away before it could smear her makeup.

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