I remember be woken, displayed by cool transparent crystal. The Prince’s kiss still burned my lips. My throat constricted as the apple reappeared, coughed to sauce. The fairest of them all wiped spit on to the back of her hand.
An angelic smile was mine to bestow on the crowd as a mark of this happy occasion. Still, I cannot deny, I had been drawn to the finery of the corset, the glamour of the comb, the lushness of the dark side of the fruit. They were powerful temptations for a young girl desperate to grow up.
Then marriage it was! And when step mother’s screams died, her charred feet melting snow as she danced her death throes, I had her mirror brought to me.
It has pride of place in my bedchamber. When beauty starts to fade, the mirror sees me. It makes me see myself. The mirror is my constant companion as I fix my hair, paint my lips and powder my face. With burning, fearful fascination I catalogue every change; every line; every grey hair; every discolouration. My husband’s reflection briefly joins mine as he charmingly declares, “You are still the fairest of them all!” He kisses my cheek, grabs his boots and goes out hunting.
I stay in place, gaze fixed on the living picture framed before me. The fairest of them all. In her cot the little princess starts to cry.
My face leaves its silent home and looks at the thrashing bundle. Tufts of hair are already black as a raven’s feather, her skin paler than cream, her lips like a red, red rose.
My own ageing eye is waiting for me in the glass.
Still the fairest of them all? I ask the mirror, “But for how long?”