“She’s just so shallow!” Shallow…shallow…shallow – the word echoed and reverberated as if on a loop in her head. Part of her blamed herself for listening when she realised they were talking about her; she should have left quietly, slunk away and licked her wounds, then met them brightly five minutes later in the stuffy office, all friends, all chirpy – a practised and perfected Janus, every one of them – “Hi, girls! Anyone fancy a coffee?!”
But she hadn’t. She’d stepped into the boxy, chokingly scented little room and watched as they fluffed their curls; dragged scarlet lipstick across thin, mean lips; pouted in the mirror; stretched their spider leg eyelashes ever longer with expensive mascara; adjusted the push-up bras; and smoothed short second-skin skirts.
They saw her and froze. The hiatus was delicious. She savoured every icy second.
Then she smiled, just a little. Carefully, warily, in the time-has-stood-still mirror, they watched her, a bit unsure of who had the next move. One started to say something, but she aimed her words carefully over the trite attempt at whatever apology or justification or deflection was about to fall from those false lips. “Believe me – if you’re the depths, I’m proud to be shallow. ”
She left the pool where it was clearly too deep for her to swim, and where the sharks circled.