Flashing lights, sirens and the sound of screaming eddied through her dreams.
She awoke, aching and sore. There were more bright lights but now silence surrounded her. A hospital room. Her body ached and her face felt numb.
“No mirrors.” She heard the words whispered like wind soughing thorough leaves. “No mirrors.”
She brushed her fingertips gently on her face, touching unfamiliar swellings and ridges where once had been smooth, unblemished young skin.
She could see the pity in their eyes as they told her about the accident. Not her fault they said.
“What happened?” she asked.
“Not now. When you’re better,” they said. “Get well first.”
Days went by; dressings were removed, scans taken but still no mirrors. Once she could walk unaided she set out to find a mirror, to see her face. Her fingers had told her that it was scarred, misshapen. But she had to see.
She left the room and walked slowly into the corridor. People passed her—avoiding looking at her. There were no mirrors in the corridor. She could see other patients, some bandaged, some on crutches. All here because of accidents, emergencies, unforeseen events.
A woman faced her. An older woman, scarred like her. It’s not so bad, she thought. If I’m no worse than that, he will still love me. He would caress her face, hold it gently between his hands and murmur words of love. He had not been to see her yet. Surely he must come soon.
She smiled at the woman. The woman smiled back. And then she realized she had found her mirror. The shock startled her. He wouldn’t recognize her. She looked so old. He couldn’t still love her, not like this. Then she understood the looks of pity were not because of her damaged face.