Where are you, my angel, now? Don't you see me crying?
Aida was in front of a boy. He was reading something she gave to him and his face was blank so she couldn't know for sure what he was thinking about. She was scared, fidgeting nervously and trying to be positive.
The boy raised his head and looked straight into her eyes. They had a glint, back then. Her mother used to tell her just how beautiful her eyes were; big and black.
"What is this?" He wasn't waiting for a response. "Are you confessing to me?" She nodded.
They were in middle school; they were very young and weren't thinking about anyone but themselves therefore, the boy scrunched his nose in disgust and threw the letter at her. She flinched. It felt like a part of her has just been thrown away.
"Are you really waiting for an answer?" She frowned. "No. I'm sorry but you're not my type. I'm not into boring girls. Besides, your eyes are really big and black. they freak me out. I can't even look at you for long. You intimidate everyone and you're not even pretty. I'm sorry, Aida but I think that no one would accept your feelings."
Her eyes widened. The boy left her to dwell in her own misery. She was only a pitiful being. She wasn't worthy of affection. Is that what everyone was thinking?
"But mom said my eyes are beautiful," She mumbled to herself.
She grabbed the letter from the ground and looked at it.
Aida took a deep breath in and planted a smile on her face. The mirror she was looking at was a normal one. Her big black eyes were complimented by the light make up she had. It was a new day and she had a lot to do. She locked the front door and walked to work.
On the way, she noticed the different face shapes and different styles. Teenagers weren't really trying to difference themselves from the others. They were mostly dressed plainly and with no sense at all. The styles were changing slowly to better as she was going to the rich part of New York. She could already see girls in the latest designer clothes and the boys taking care of their appearance, as well.
Aida was getting a lot of attention because of her own style and her eyes. She was pretty, she knew that but her beauty had a price.
The young woman unlocked the door to Grimhilde and walked in the back; into the magic room. It was empty and lonely. She walked in front of the mirror and touched it softly and the image shifted. It wasn't just a mirror. It was the Magic Mirror; the one that could appreciate real beauty. The mirror that made Aida an empty shell.
Aida could still remember that day.
She just got home from school and she didn't look happy at all. It was a few days after she got refused. It hurt because she became paranoid. Every time she entered the classroom, her classmates would turn and stare at her; judging her. She tried to cover her face with make-up but she was only a beginner. It was a disaster.
"What are you doing, Aida? Trying to look uglier?"
The girl was very pretty. She was also rich and didn't know the struggle of a normal girl. The bullying wasn't coming from the mean girls; it was inside her. There was an inner battle between her consciousness and reality.
Aida blinked quickly and avoided to look at her bully. The girl scoffed and pushed Aida harshly. She wasn't exactly good on her feet, so she fell on the ground. The girl rolled her eyes and walked past her.
"You should just go hide somewhere for the rest of your life. You and your sinister big black eyes."
Those same big black eyes lost their glint before she found the mirror. She thought that people liked her; she thought she was decent looking but she wasn't aware just how wrong she was. Aida was oblivious to the world around her.
"Hello. Can I help you with something?"
Those black eyes shrank while she smiled widely. Those eyes were empty and cold but the customers saw comfort in them. They couldn't see the emotion behind them. They were too superficial and were only seeing the beautiful face she had.
"I want a perfume for my girlfriend," Aida tilted her head to the side. The smile cracked but didn't waver. She sighed and told the young guy to follow her.
"What is she like?"
The boy frowned. He started to rub his chin and thought about his girlfriend.
"She's really pretty," He started. Of course. Aida would have scoffed if she could. "I don't know. She's not very tall and not very thin. She likes romantic dramas, I guess. Give me something romantic." He genuinely looked like he had a revelation."Something sweet."
"You know, love is not always sweet,"
He brushed her comment off. He didn't care and only wanted to buy his girlfriend a present.
She sighed and walked in the back. Aida came back rather quickly with a bottle in the shape of an apple. The guy's eyes shine with excitement. It had an interesting shape and it probably smelled really good too; maybe fresh. He tried it on a piece of paper and smiled widely. It had a tint of apple scent.
He paid and left. Aida watched with a blank expression on her face.
"Sometimes, beautiful apples are actually rotten on the inside,"
She sighed and looked to the side. The music box was still there. It was there before she came and bought the place. It has always been there; just like the mirror.
Aida was busy researching for a new scent when the front door opened. She kind of hoped it was Abel. Unfortunately, it wasn't him. However, the customer was a man. He was older; not a student. He smiled softly at Aida and walked to her.
"I'd like to buy a perfume for someone. We're only at the beginning of our relationship but I'd like to buy something nice for her."
Aida nodded,"Do you know what kind of scent she would like?"
She had already turned her back to him and was searching through the shelf.
"She's going to come here in a few minutes but, she has a bubble personality and loves cake. Strawberry cake. It would be nice if the scent is not that sweet, though."
She was impressed. The man knew exactly what he wanted. She grabbed three bottles of perfume and placed them on the counter. She sprayed three cartoon sticks and placed them in front of each bottle.
As the man said, his girlfriend came a few minutes later. Aida was even more surprised than before. She was a chubby girl, short and was obviously not very educated. The way she was talking was a good sign. However, the man was completely swept off his feet. She really had him in the palm of her hand. Aida could notice it in the way he was looking at her. He was happy just to be around her and do something that would make her smile.
"I like this one!" She pointed at the middle bottle. It was a little expensive but the man didn't care.
"Actually, I have another perfume that you'd like. It's in the back, if you'd like to come and take a look,"
The woman glanced at her boyfriend who only nodded. She was a modest girl but the way she was responding to his feelings was really cute.
"Your boyfriend loves you very much, doesn't he?"
They were in the corridor when Aida started the conversation. The chubby woman blushed, her reaction an image of what she was feeling towards that guy.
"We've known each other for a while but he confessed just now. I was really happy, you know? I'm not pretty like you so it's really hard for me to find someone to like me back as much as I like him,"
Aida's smiley face dropped. She turned her head so her face wouldn't be seen.
"I know how it is. I know better than anyone," She mumbled. The woman didn't hear her.
Aida led the woman in the back room. Much like any other girl, she first noticed the mirror. She gasped and rushed in front of it. However, when she saw her reflection, she frowned.
"Does he even like me? ME?"
Aida leaned against the wall and crossed her arms in front of her chest.
"I'm not even that special and I come from a poor family. He's rich and his friends will definitely make fun of him when they will find out," She turned to Aida and sighed heavily.
"You're right. You're nothing in the eyes of a common person. But right now, you stay in front of a magic mirror. The magic mirror sees what normal people can't," Aida started and walked behind her. "Real beauty doesn't exist outside. It only exists on the inside," She smiled and turned her attention on the mirror. "What do you see in this mirror?"
"A fat lady." Was the girl's bold statement.
Aida chuckled and placed her hands on her shoulders.
"Close your eyes," The woman did. "Now, what did the Queen ask the mirror?"
"Mirror, mirror on the wall. Who's the prettiest of all?"
Aida nodded. She could see the mirror changing itself into something magical. It was shifting around, waiting; anticipating.
"And what did the mirror respond?" Aida whispered.
Aida's eyes hardened and her whole expression became stiff.
Something was indeed wrong. The woman opened her eyes but it was too late. Aida pushed her face inside the mirror.
"The one who sees the other side of the mirror is the prettiest."
The voice and superior attitude; the big black eyes that looked scary and the beauty that became a curse, those were characteristics of someone who only caught glimpse of the other side of the mirror.
While Aida was in the back, Abel decided to pay her a visit. He even used that special perfume that she gave to him. It actually smelled really good. It wasn't strong enough to make the people around him feel uncomfortable but it wasn't weak either. It was perfect and it gave him some kind of confidence.
Abel found a man standing at the counter. He was looking at three bottles of perfume. He tapped him on the back to get his attention.
"Do you know where the owner is?" The man nodded and pointed to the back door.
"She went in there with my girlfriend. They're looking at perfumes," He glanced at his wrist watch. "They've been in there for some time."
Abel raised an eyebrow and nodded. The man frowned and leaned a little towards the model.
"Is there something wrong?" Abel asked, a bit confused. The man shook his head.
"Your perfume. It smells interesting,"
Suddenly, the man became distant. It was weird. He smelled his perfume and started to keep a distance from him.
Abel didn't have enough time to say something. The back door opened and Aida walked out carrying a woman twice her size.She carried the woman back in the store and acted all innocent. When she opened her eyes, the glint was gone. The woman couldn't remember what happened.
"You had an allergic reaction to the perfume I showed to you. Thankfully, you only fainted and nothing big happened. Just buy the one you originally chose." The customer nodded and took Aida's advice.
Abel glanced between the woman and Aida. He could swear she was content with what happened in the back. He wasn't sure what actually happened there but it wasn't good.
"Oh. You," Her eyes widened and her whole attitude became brighter.
Unfortunately, she still had two customers. Once the pair bought the perfume and left, her attention moved completely to him.
"Actually, I wanted to thank you for the perfume,"
She seemed surprised and leaned towards him a little but it was enough to smell it. The memories sudenly came back. The anger, the tears and the moment she found the mirror. They were all parts of the perfume she gave to him. He was a bright guy so people weren't going to see him in a negative way but once he was going to make a mistake, even something small, the reaction was going to be bad.
"It's nothing. You helped me clean my house so I wanted to give you something in return. I tricked you so I should be the one to thank you."
His eyes were bright and happy. He leaned against the counter and looked at her. She swore he was like a puppy and could imagine him wagging his tail.
"Then, do you want to help me with something?"
She raised an eyebrow. Abel was staring at her with a happy face. He was sure she was going to accept.
He knew that.
She knew that. Aida laughed and nodded.
She closed the store and followed him in the park. He stopped near the river and took a deep breath. It looked like he was preparing hismelf mentally and spiritually.
"What are we going to do?"
He glanced at her over his shoulder. Aida was a foot behind him, had her hands behind her back and her dress was swaying in the wind. She was really pretty, overall.
Abel didn't have time to respond. Robert appeared a few moments later with two dogs, messed up.
"Thank God you agreed. I was walking down the street and then one of them-" He stopped talking when he noticed Aida. A stupid and wide smile appeared on his face and raised his eyebrows up and down at his friend. "So that's how it is," I
t all made sense. In movies, dogs led to them tangling together to having fun and to a good date. He winked at him before he left.
"Your friend is not subtle at all."Aida remarked jokingly.
Abel rolled his eyes. He had a leash in each hand. The dogs were small but they seemed ready to go run more.
"Sorry about that. He's stupid."
She chuckled and took one leash.
"Well then, let's not disappoint him." She was excited. It was her first date with dogs. It was definitely going to be fun.
The date was fun. The dogs were very active and were running all the time. One of them was especially troublesome but Aida enjoyed herself. It was fun to run around and smile. It felt like she didn't have any troubles and any responsibilities. She fell on her ass when her dog started to run after another. Thankfully, she didn't drop the leash.
"Are you ok? Here," He helped her up and helped her brush the weed from her clothes. Instead of being mad, she started to laugh. He found it contagious.
The dogs became tired after a few more hours. They were staying in between the two humans, asking for attention. Aida chuckled and rubbed their tummies.
"You're good with dogs," She scowled.
"I'm not. I just don't get out much. That's why I find it so fun," Abel seemed genuinely surprised. "What?"
"Are you seriously not going out much? I thought you'd go clubbing every night," She raised an eyebrow and bit the inside of her cheek. She looked annoyed even if she wasn't. He realized what he said and gulped. "No. I mean I thought you go out a lot and have a lot of friends."
"I know what you mean," She pushed him playfully. "I don't have many friends. People find me intimidating." He looked at her skeptically. She laughed and leaned back."They do!" She repeated.
"What part of you is intimidating? I'm really curious," She pointed to her eyes. "They're not. They're big and black. Many girls would pay to have your eyes." She licked her lip and sighed.
"That's the problem. They wouldn't."
He rolled his eyes and leaned closer to her face. She was shocked when she smelled the perfume. For her, it was intoxicating.
"You're not intimidating-" He stopped. He didn't know her name. She chuckled and pushed him back slowly.
"Aida. My name is Aida." He tilted his head to the side and stared at her deeply. Suddenly, he shook her hand.
"Nice to meet you, Aida. I'm Abel." She stared at their entangled hands. He noticed how tense she became and squeezed her hand. "Let's go give Robby the dogs back. We can continue our fun afterwards." She only blinked, caught off guard.
That day proved to be one of the fewest good days in her life. After they handed the dogs to Abel's friend, he grabbed her hand and took her to a lot of his favorite places. Well, more like dating places. They went to a restaurant and ate dinner. He was surprised by her good manners. Next, they went for icecream. He taught she was the strawberry type but she actually hated it.
"You sell a lot of perfumes. Many girls go for the strawberry one, don't they?" She stared at him bemusedly.
"The strawberry one? It doesn't exist. It depends on every person. For some people, it just smells sweet while for others, it smells like strawberries." Abel froze.
"I heard this somewhere before," She watched him trying to remember.
"I told you that, before." His eyes widened. "You came over with your two friends. We met one of them today. You asked me how magic smells like," He almost jumped when he remembered.
"Yes! That's why you looked so familiar!" She shook her head. He was such a boy. "So that's why you asked me for help. You knew me!"
"Of course. I wouldn't have asked a stranger to come to my house," He chuckled. That was right.
"Can I smell it next time?" He leaned over the table and asked.
She was grinning like an idiot. She copied his moves and leaned over the table.
"Only if there will be a next time."
They were staring into each other's eyes playfully. She was a great girl. Abel didn't know what was so mysterious about her. He was wrong to judge her by her looks. She was just lonely. She needed a friend and someone who could make her crawl out of her shell.
Next time proved to come earlier than she imagined. Actually, for the next four months, Abel made sure to stop by her store and wait until she was done. Afterwards, they would go out with his friends or by themselves.
Aida became a girl. In the last few weeks, she started to grin like an idiot every time she would see or get a text from him. She was really happy. She was the happiest she had been in her 26 years of life. It was an amazing feeling and she was scared of it.
When she got to work, she glanced at the music box. Without thinking, she grabbed it and placed it on the counter. She opened the lowest drawer and grabbed a small key before she inserted it in the side hole and spin it. It started to play a pretty and melancholic song. She sighed and watched with sad eyes how instead of a spinning balerina was a bottle of perfume in the shape of a butterfly.
Just like a larva in a cocoon, you will become a beautiful butterfly. You will spread your wings and show them what real beauty looks like.
Her mother was always on her side. Aida was her daughter, in the end but she couldn't keep Aida in a cocoon forever. She wanted to become that beautiful butterfly and spread her wings already.
It happened but not how she imagined it. It wasn't her beauty. It was all the mirror.
Aida walked in the back of the store and entered the lonely room. She stopped in front of the mirror and looked at her reflection.
"Mirror, mirror on the wall. Who's the prettiest of all?"
The mirror shifted but didn't react like it did with others. Instead of waiting to be fed, it started to sing the same song as the music box. Aida felt her heart break a little. The mirror was only using her to be fed but she didn't even know what true beauty looked like; she was only following the mirror. Everyone interested in the music box was a victim. That was why she was never going to let Abel get lured in by the spell.
Unfortunately, while she was in the back, Abel entered the store brightly. He was only going to wait for her innocently but Aida forgot something on the counter; something that already caught his attention.