My husband killed the maker of this mirror. In it, he saw no face he recognized. Kings do not have balding pates, warts on their chins. My face, too, he says, seems incorrect. Surely, this cannot be the girl of the long immurement. Where are the golden tresses, the emerald eyes, the pale taut skin?
Did I ever have such attributes? Was I always the daughter my father claimed me to be? I hear him now singing – My daughter is so lovely. My daughter is so bold. My daughter can spin nothing into gold.
My father’s song was poor man’s grist, to be tasted in hunger and spit out to anyone who would listen. I suppose I believed myself a beauty because he did, and because he did, others did, too. Even the king, my husband, believed the louche lie. Without even looking for evidence, he stuck me inside obsidian walls, gave me straw, and expected gold.
Perhaps I’ve never been pretty, but I’ve always been smart. I sang a song. I told a story. I made them believe what they wanted – that I wove the silage into silver, fodder into fire, rocks into damascene silk. My words were powerful. They still have some weight. They whispered in my husband’s ear before the death of the mirror maker.
Not that I don’t recognize the face I see. This has to be me – the spark in my eyes – for good or evil, the hunch of shoulders, the curl of pointed ears, the hush of woman’s beard, these rumpled clothes, this rumpled skin.
Nan Wigington’s recent flash fiction has appeared in Gravel magazine and The Airgonaut. She has a piece forthcoming in No Extra Words. Nan has worked as an unclaimed property clerk, an accounting analyst, and an ensemble actress. Her current job is her favorite. She’s a paraprofessional in a Denver Autism center that serves children grades K-2.