For Children

Julia Miyasaka

The Girl in the Mirror

7th & 8th Grade Prose Honorable Mention

Age: Five

“Hi! Do you want to be friends?”

Amy screamed. Her mother and father weren’t home, and her babysitter had run to the grocery store because they didn’t have any milk. Amy was alone in the house.

Well, alone except for the figure standing in front of her.

“Why are you screaming?” The little girl cocked her head.

Amy shivered. The girl looked exactly like her, from the shape of her eyes to the curve of her smile. Mama said not to talk to strangers, but this was a little girl, just like her, who looked like her. Also, she couldn’t run to the nearest trusted grown-up because Amy didn’t know where they were. “Why are you in my room?”

“I saw you in my bedroom mirror, and I was lonely. So I walked through.”

“What?”

“I walked into the mirror. Do you...not want to be friends?”

“No! Don’t go away. What’s your name?”

The girl smiled. “Amy Lee.”

Original Amy’s eyes narrowed. “You can’t be Amy Lee. I’m Amy Lee!”

"When’s your birthday?”

“April twenty-third, two thousand one. When’s yours?”

“Mine has the same date.”

“Well, since we’re in my bedroom, you can’t be Amy.”

“But I’m the guest, so I should be Amy.”

“That doesn’t matter.”

“Yes it does.”

“No it doesn’t!” The girls glared at each other. Mirror Amy spoke first.

“How about we alternate days? On one day you be Amy, the next day I’m Amy. When I’m Amy, you’re Amelia, and the other way around.”

Original Amy bit her lip but nodded. “Okay. But I get today. ”

“Fine. Friends, then?”

“Friends.”

 

Age: Seven

“I don't understand why Brenna was so mean!” Original Amy gazed at Amy of the Mirror. It was Mirror Amy’s turn to be Amy. “Are people mean in the Mirror World?”

“No one means to be mean here, but sometimes there are misunderstandings and fights.” Amy gnawed at her fingernails, eyes focused on a point over Amelia’s shoulder. Amelia stared at her. The mirror showed Amy as clearly as if she were in the room with Amelia. Amy could come through, but it was roomier on both ends with them each in their own room. “Are you sure this isn't a misunderstanding?”

“I told on her because she was talking when she shouldn’t have. And then she got mad at me for telling on her. But she was breaking the rules!”

“You two are friends. She could feel betrayed.”

“She was breaking the rules.”

“Don’t you sometimes talk when the teacher’s talking?”

“That’s not the point!”

“Has she ever told on you for it?”

“No, but she was arguing about cats being better than dogs. That’s stupid.”

“But it might not be stupid to her. You should try to see why she’s mad.”

“But it’s dumb.”

“Do you want to lose your friendship because you’re too prideful?”

“It’s not my pride! It’s what’s right!”

“You don’t have to be friends with her again if you really don’t want to. Just talk to her and say you’re sorry. Give her a chance. You can always stop being friends with her, but you can’t make it up very easily once you decide she’s bad.”

Original Amy shook her head. “Fine. But this is gonna be a waste of time.”

 

Age: Nine

“No, you’re the witch. I get to be the knight this time.”

“But I want to be the knight.”

“You just were the knight!”

“Talking with Amy Number Two still?” Original Amy’s cousin poked his head into the room. “How old are you again?”

“I’m nine.”

“Aren’t you a little old for imaginary friends?”

“Amy isn’t imaginary. She’s right here.”

“Okay. Sure. But you might want to refrain from talking to Amy at school. Other kids might judge you forever as that kid with the imaginary--the friend they can’t see.”

“George, come here.” George sighed but obeyed his mother. A moment later, his mother’s scolding voice rose from the kitchen.

“He’s in trouble,” Amy said, smiling a little. “Serves him right for calling me imaginary.”

“Yeah. Totally.” Amelia shifted. “But...maybe, just to avoid awkwardness, when other people are around, you should stay in the mirror. It’s weird when they stare right at you and say that you’re not there. You know what I’m saying?”

“Oh! Um. Yeah. Okay, then.” Amy stood up. “Since George and his family are still in the house, I’ll wait in the mirror. Until they’re gone.” She slipped into the mirror. They waited for fifteen minutes.

“Bye, Amy!” George called from downstairs.

“Bye, George. Bye, Aunt Lydia.” To Mirror Amy, Amelia said, “They don’t know that today’s your day to be Amy.” The front door slammed close. Original Amy’s parents came upstairs and told her that she should’ve come downstairs and talked to Lydia and George. Amelia nodded, but she watched Amy in the mirror.

“Papa?”

“Yes?”

“Is it true that other children will judge me because they can’t see Amy?”

“Is this about what George said?”

Amelia twitched. “No.” She didn’t look at either of her parents.

“They might, but their opinions shouldn’t matter. Do what feels right to you.”

“But-” She stopped. “Okay.” Her father and mother left the room.

“You can come out now, Amy.”

Amy didn’t come out.

“Amy?”

“I can’t.”

“You can’t what?”

“I can’t come out. Look.” Amy backed away from Amelia’s view of the mirror and ran into the mirror. There was a loud thunk and Amy backed away from the mirror, clutching her head. “Ow. It’s been a while since I crashed into anything.” She started walking towards the mirror again.

“No, don’t bother. It’s not worth your hurting yourself over. How about we play checkers?”

 

Age: Fifteen

“Amy? We need to talk.” Amelia sat cross legged in front of her mirror. Amy didn’t resemble Amelia’s current self anymore. Amelia had grown too tall for the mirror, but Amy had shrunk to the same height Amelia had been the day the two had first met.

Amy looked up from a drawing of a puppy slaying a dragon. “What about?”

“Our names.”

“Today’s my day to be Amy.”

“Yes...but I want you to be able to have tomorrow too.”

“Why?”

“I want to be Amelia from now on.”

“Why?”

“I’m not a little kid anymore. I’m not Amy, I’m Amelia.”

“Why?”

“I’m not going to play the why game with you. Are you fine with being Amy from now on?”

“Yes, but-”

“Good. From now on, I’m Amelia.” If Amelia had been looking at the mirror, she would’ve noticed how the mirror was blurry where Amy’s face was. If Amelia had thought more about it, she would’ve realized that the softness of Amy’s voice was from distance, not shyness.

 

Age: Seventeen

“Hey, you still have this mirror!” Brenna said, pointing at the mirror that Amy was in. The younger girl waved, but Brenna didn’t blink.

“Yeah, there was never a reason to get rid of it. Shouldn’t we get to our homework?”

“Eager to change the subject, huh? I suspect that you secretly like princesses and unicorns.” She traced her fingers over a pegasus flying in the corner of the frame. “Or does it have to do with your imaginary friend?”

“Oh, no. That was stupid and a long time ago.” Amy stared at Amelia, lip trembling, but Amelia looked toward the window. She wouldn’t have been able to see Amy’s features even if she had looked.

“I’m sure. Okay, let’s get this project done.” They sat down on the floor in front of the mirror. Brenna drummed her fingers against her computer while it turned on. “What’s going on between you and Irene?”

“I didn’t lend her any money when she wanted candy.”

“Why not?”

“She never pays back as much as she took, and when she does pay back, it takes forever.”

“It is weird that she doesn’t pay you back.”

“Does she pay you back?”

“Yeah. It takes her a little while, but she’s good about it.”

“Why is she angry at me?”

“I don’t know.”

“You’re not very nice to her.” Amy’s voice was at the level of a whisper. “Your teasing is harsh. Stop poking her sore spots, and maybe she’ll be nicer to you.”

“She knows it’s just teasing.”

Brenna looked up from her computer. “Did you say something?”

“You wanna work in the kitchen? The lighting is better.”

“What are you talking about? The lighting is terrible down there.”

“Oh, nothing.” Amelia glared at Amy.

At five o’clock, Brenna left.

“Look, Amy, you have got to stop talking when my friends are around.”

Amy didn’t say anything.

“Amy?”

Amy said nothing.

Amelia turned to the mirror. At first, she didn’t realize what was wrong. When she did realize, she wished she hadn’t.

Because for the first time since she was five years old, the mirror that Amy resided in contained Amelia’s reflection.