“Shattered” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2017 written by Francine Estranero, USA.
I traced the fractures on the mirror with my finger and watched the many different reflections of my face move in sync. I heard someone call my name and I jumped as the door to my room burst open with someone yelling, “Hurry up! We’re leaving in less than 5 minutes and unless you want to walk to school in 30 degree weather, I’d change if I were you.”
Silently, I shuffled my way to the closet where I grabbed a pair of jeans and a shirt randomly and threw them on my body. Forcing my feet into the socks, I reached for my shoes which were in a pile by my door before grabbing my backpack and walking to the bathroom. There I quickly brushed my teeth while putting on my shoes.
I walked to the front of the house and pulled a jacket from the coat rack by our front door. Opening the door, I felt the cold wind biting at my nose as I rushed to the unlocked car. My mom was already inside and she started driving before I even fully closed the door. A couple of minutes later, I was dumped unceremoniously at my middle school. I held my jacket close to my body and walked solemnly to my locker. After getting through the traffic of students, I reached my locker unscathed and started unlocking the combination lock. Checking the schedule that I pasted on the inside, I pulled out my Science, Math, and English notebooks before leaving for my first period which was Math.
I sat in my normal seat which was next to the window and opened my notebook to a fresh page. The clock read7:40 which meant I had about ten minutes before class officially began. I absentmindedly started doodling on my paper until someone commented, “Nice drawing.”
Their voice broke the trance that I was under and I looked down in surprise. On my page, I saw the cracked mirror drawn with my reflection and everything. After further examination, I noticed little details in the reflection. My eyes were smaller, eyebrows a little more arched, lips looked fuller. I gasped as I realized… the person I drew wasn’t me. It was my twin sister. My eyes started to water as I looked at the broken reflection of someone who was me but wasn’t. I forcefully closed my notebook and pulled out another one that I could use for notes. Mr. David droned on and on about scientific notation and his voice lowered to a small whine in the background that I could easily tune out. It was then that I started to doze off. I closed my eyes and for a split second, I pictured the last moment I saw her.
It was last year; we were celebrating our twelfth birthday together. I distinctly remember the both of us dressing into opposite outfits, I wore a black dress and she wore a white one. We then decided to have a little more fun and switch shoes. I wore her white ballet flats while she wore my black ones. When we walked to the living room, our parents were laughing as we stood arm in arm. We celebrated our special day together and at the end of the night we were ready to pass out. I remember sleeping in the same room as her and I remember waking up without her. I remember the panic that flooded my veins when I noticed she wasn’t anywhere in the house. I remember looking at her bed and noticed how clean and crisp the edges were and finding the note she left on my desk.
My Dearest Angelica,
I remember seeing the smile on your face on our eighth birthday. Remember? That was the day we went to the beach. Seeing the joy on your face almost was the thing that made me stay. I’m sorry I had to leave. I’m sorry I left everything behind. I’m sorry I left you. I’m sorry I left Mom. I’m sorry I left Dad. I’m sorry for the pain that I left you. I know that you can get through this. I know that you are strong enough to be able to brave past this grey cloud I left you in. You should know that you will never see me again. Don’t hope that someday I’d happen to bump into you on the sidewalk and we can become friends again. I don’t want your hopes to be all for nothing. I’ll never forget my sister though. I want you to know that I will grow on what we had. I will fight to keep you in my life mentally if not physically.
The sound of the bell ringing in my ear woke me from my trance and I quickly scribbled down notes that were on the board. Groggily, I shoved all my stuff into my backpack and somehow got to my next class without getting knocked to the ground. The rest of my day went by without any major drama, unless you count Alexander and Aaron fighting as major drama. The ride back home was surprisingly quiet which I was grateful for. It gave me time to just relax by myself. When I got home, I walked up to my room and sat down on my bed. Sitting there gave me time to just relive the memories leading up to that eventful 12th birthday. It didn’t take long for me to start crying. When I emerged from my room, the sky outside had already turned the color of night. My feet didn’t make much noise as I padded across the floor to the kitchen. I saw my mom sitting at the table and I sat next to her looking at what she was doing. She looked up and saw my face puffy from crying, her face taking on a somber expression as she realized that I was crying over Eliza.
“Angelica... You are able to be strong for her. Eliza would have wanted you to be happy. Not sad like this.”
“Mom, I know it’s been a year since she left but I’ve been trying. Something just forcefully puts her back into my mind.”
She nodded in understanding and said, “I’ll leave your dinner in the microwave in case you get hungry.”
I stood up and walked back to my room and opened my laptop. Thinking hard, I decided to open a word document and start typing. After some time went by, I looked at my document and read the words.
“Hurt is inevitable when someone you care about deeply, leaves. Your job is to be strong enough to push past the clouded time after they are gone. You have to be strong enough to push past the hurt to be able to see the light.”