Staring back at me
is a woman I no longer recognize.
We share the same deep set brown eyes,
hers filled with unbridled hope,
while mine hold a weariness with life
that she has yet to experience.
Her face, lit with a smile so bright dimples pop in her healthy, glowing cheeks,
my face portrays a somberness similar to what one would see at a funeral,
no teeth bared,
instead a distinctive clench of my jaw.
The hard grinding of my teeth
causes my cheeks to become sunken, hallowed into my face.
surprisingly identical, with a smattering of freckles across its bridge.
Identical except for the slight bend to the top of mine.
My face embraces a light covering of sweat as if using it as
a second layer of skin,
while hers glows with youth, beauty, and endless possibilities.
both drift downward
onto the curve of our necks,
so very different,
I knew what I would see on mine.
blue, purple, and some even an almost yellow shade
guided into the distinctive shape of fingers.
The only imperfection gracing the line of her neck
was a mole,
one that on me
would blend into the deep color painted across my collarbone.
I could see myself.
The younger me,
now a stranger
the older me
with a questioning, saddening gaze.
she would ask,
and I would have no good answer.
In my mind I would see,
a dark, menacing head hovering over mine,
touching my soul so deeply
that all similarities with the girl I used to be
making my only response,
“I thought it was love.”