“It is so strange to wake up and know that you are the most beautiful woman in the world.” Lara was talking to herself in the mirror. “ Other women can't understand, naturally they hate me, I suppose, why wouldn't they? What they don't understand is the effort that I have to make, the work and the working out that I have to do, the pain, the self denial, it's constant.” She was looking deep into her own eyes, the conversation becoming more serious though her refection took no notice and blankly refused to answer. “I fine tune the regime, try things, drop things, stick with things, note what works and what fails, all to stay here in the top slot. Clothes, hair, cosmetics and preparations, that's just the start, that's almost the easy part. It's keeping yourself out there, being seen, even heard once in a while. No, they don't really want to listen to me, nobody wants a talking magazine cover or a model that chats on the cat walk. It's forever about my superficiality and only the very edges of anything else...but at the moment I retain the edge.”
She continued to chat into the mirror, unconsciously she was fixing her skin, her hair, looking for some tiny, threatening blemish, looking for the start of the downhill rot...but that was some time away. Right now she had to dab a tissue on her lipstick and squint at the corners of her eyes, just to check the translucence that was always there was always there.
“This is for my fans, the little people.” She was brushing her hair. “And this is for the scumbag press and the media liars and the bad bloggers and the paps.” She dabbed nail varnish remover across her fingertips with cotton wool...where is my manicure? It's nearly eleven.” She sipped some cold water. “Nice, pure, cold and clear...a little like myself.”
“Maybe today I feel I have a sore back, like my Polish mother would have said, like a worker, maybe I'm tired but still buzzing.” She sat back in the chair and daydreamed about smoking a long Russian cigarette and eating a large cheeseburger. “I do look sexy when I smoke, I look good and dirty and independent but that's not so good for this image, for the business. These managers they tell me what to do, where to go, what flight, I get there but I never really know where I am...other than the top. My mother would have laughed at that, traveling the world, five star everything, six star anytime ans still only wanting to be something that's a position on a list, a position on a list, a slippery, stupid list.”
Lara's phone chirped. She ignored it for a moment then picked it up. Few folks had her number and she had very few numbers. Being number one doesn't mean that all the numbers fall straightaway into the right places. Some number vanish all together. Some numbers are in funds and investments and bonds and sunny shiny white properties that will act like a magnet for other sunny white properties and their sunny owners, occupiers and clients. She sipped more water listening to the voice on the other end of the phone call. It was itinerary, travel appearances and way down in the detail some work, covers and opening nights and appointments. Tomorrow was to be a travel day.
She put the phone down and returned to the mirror conversation. “They say I have eight hours, then it's that premiere, then sleep, then an early start and I'm in Dubai or somewhere...are you getting this dumb bitch? Are you having a fantasy about a lettuce leaf or an oatmeal cracker? Are you worried about the size of the gap between your thighs? We both have stuff to do, to straighten out and I need you to be straight with me but you never talk. I do all the hard work planning and getting dressed and undressed and you...you just look back at me.” She tapped on three perfume bottles as if they were a little drum kit. “Boom, boom, boom I need red meat, masturbation, maybe a man,maybe a woman. A trustworthy worker who'll fill my bed and move between me and that mirror woman. Yes I'm talking about you, you look like you're listening but I'm not so sure, glassy eyes and that haughty look. What am I to make of that? So it's back to you and I am you're only audience but you refuse to perform for me.”
When your best friend is only a reflection your conversations will be frustrating; circular, tedious affairs, you will question your sanity. Mirror people don't talk back or share, interact, argue or tell you anything new. So you get in there and you find, suddenly it's all too deep, you've manoeuvred yourself into that place, that mirrored hall of self examination and reflection where you can go but no one else can reach you. You can't describe it or explain it, it's a ditch and you're ditched.
Maybe under different circumstances, with better tutelage, guidance, a smaller mirror even, Lara would have made that flight to Dubai. As it was she never was found but then again nobody knew she was lost and she never was number one anyway They said it was all a bit “smoke and mirrors”, that listing. If it did exist then the prize belonged to the girl in the mirror, wherever she has gone.