Art Inspired Flash Fiction: Vanity

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She was engaged once, although she has pushed it out of her mind. He loved her and was endowed with a large enough fortune to satisfy her whims and capricious needs. Sadly, she was unable to tear her eyes off of herself long enough to carry on even the simplest conversation with him. When she did not have her mirror in hand, she would seek out her image in windows, vases, or any reflective surface nearby that did not distort her features. Being otherwise occupied, she failed to notice when his interest waned and his love faltered. She was blissfully unaware as he slipped quietly away into the arms of another girl. A girl who, although plainer of face, was sweet and true.

This was to become a common occurrence. People passed through her life as quickly as they came. She had no idea that their initial interest in her beauty faded once they realized a vacant mind and an empty spirit were all that existed beyond her lovely features.

She has fallen prey to her own spell. Unable to part from her own reflection, she gazes at what she thinks is the most compelling image on earth. Others matter not. Except, of course, when they affect her.

Soon, she will pluck the rose out of her hair, for its beauty rivals her own. It may draw an onlooker’s gaze away from her face and she can not allow that. She needs them — she feeds upon their flattery and attention. Without it she fears she will fade away into nothingness. To sustain her empty life she needs them to agree with her, to approve of her, to discuss her loveliness.

She is alone in the room. Alone with her mirror, yet she does not notice. The mirror deceives.

***

This post features the painting Vanity by John William Waterhouse.

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