(Or 'Fallen Angel')

Mirrors don't tend to do much for me, except show me how I happen to be looking today. That's really the problem with the whole mirror and reflection thing. My reflection shows nothing real, only my appearance. My eyes are blue and apparently I have long eyelashes. I have often heard my eyes described as 'smouldering'. I have never quite understood that. How can eyes burn, except in anger? My eyes don't burn, they have never burned, they're too cold for any of this burning. My eyes are quite often cold and sometimes hostile. There is never an element of trust in them, my trust was broken long ago. I don't think my eyes have ever expressed any amount of hope either. I look for hope every time I happen to glance into a mirror, but I find none. No wonder. That was shattered along with my trust.

Many of the compliments that I receive involve my hair. I don't know why. Personally, I cannot stand it. It's blonde- I've heard 'spun gold' before- and falls in natural tight curls past my shoulders. More than anything else in the world, I hate those curls. I am told all the time that my hair is 'so pretty', and that I should never get it all cut off or attempt to have it straightened. The people who compliment my hair all have straight hair themselves, and all they do is admire from afar. They don't have to live with curly hair, which, when you straighten it, stays straight... until the moment it gets wet. There's a lesson in that. No one is ever satisfied with what they have. People with straight hair admire curly hair whereas those who have curly hair want it to be straight.

I have often heard people say that I'm beautiful. If this is so, I never see it. I know my skin is smooth, and my features delicate, but beauty? I don't think so. I see myself all the time and that thought never enters my mind. Perhaps my supposed 'beauty' has, in my eyes at least, worn away.

For some reason people will insist on calling my figure perfect. Nothing is perfect, least of all me. I know I am a little taller than average for my age, but so are many people. I have been labelled anorexic a few times, but I assure you that I am not.

I have also been told that I suit my name. Apparently I look like an angel. A fallen angel, then, cast from heaven in disgrace and stripped of my wings. My halo has shattered long ago, and I never did like harps.

They call me beautiful. I know only too well that beauty is only on the outside. There is no hint of beauty in me. In the parts of me they never see, I am flawed. None of them ever sees the extent of what I am on the inside because I hide it from the rest of the world as best as I can. This dark angel has more than her share of troubles.

A girl I know, my age, tried to kill herself not long ago. That makes me feel so angry. What right has she to take a blade to her wrists? She is only having problems in school. She's not the one with the abusive stepfather, not the one with the addictions- I smoke, drink, and use drugs when I can get them. I suffer the same problems as she does with school, and more besides which are not school-related. Despite this I'd never even attempt suicide. I'm not the type who gives up easily. You can ask anyone. Well, if you ask, their first answer will be, "Angela? She's a cold, hostile bitch." All you have to do is dismiss their childish name-calling and persist. Then they might tell you that I have never given up on anything. I'm not that weak.

The first part of that statement is true. In fact, all of it is true. My name is Angela, and I am a cold and hostile bitch. I pride myself on it. Hostility prevents anyone from getting too close. I have an unreachable image and I like that. I don't trust anyone. I don't need to. You'd have to be crazy before you tried to be nice to me, and everyone else will think you're insane even to want to. You see, being nice to me is simply futile. I don't appreciate sympathy, pity or kind words, and I certainly don't need anyone's friendship.

You may have realised by now that I don't like people. I have never really thought about it much, but I think it may have to do with how shallow people really are. They see what's on the outside and don't tend to care about much else. Every now and then I suppose you may find someone who really cares, but I haven't yet. I don't want to. I'm not in for all that relationship or love stuff.

If you ask me, love is the greatest fallacy of all. It blinds the unfortunate person, making them unable to see faults in whomever it is they think they love. Take Gabe, for example. He's sweet and so innocent and he thinks he loves me. He's wrong, I'll tell you that now. I just haven't decided to get rid of him yet. Hey, everyone deserves to be idolised once in their lives. Archangel Gabe is like the others, though. He thinks he loves me only because I'm supposedly beautiful. If he ever gets to know what I'm really like, he's sure to run quickly in the other direction. My hostility is not an act.

Mirrors reflect only what can be seen on the outside. People are like that. They don't often see past appearances. Don't judge a book by its cover? You have to be joking. Everyone I've met assumes that I'm a nice person, because I can look as innocent and sweet as an angel if I feel like it. However, they only think I'm angelic for as long as it takes for me to light up a cigarette or to insult them for the first time. Not only is everyone I know scared of and intimidated by me, they also think I'm vicious. They'd be right.

You may have guessed by now that nobody has a particularly good view of me. I like it that way. I am, however, being hypocritical. I've been saying that someone should get to know me and look further than my appearance, but I'm always distant and have a reputation for viciousness and malice. I've said also that I don't want anyone to get too close. I suppose I'm not really being very fair, but you'll just have to live with it. Trust me, I'm right. I'm never wrong, and if I am, I'll soon bring you around to my point of view. I can do that quite easily now.

I've had a lot of practice.

I suppose that the point I'm trying to get across is that beauty goes no further than what a mirror reflects, and it may do you good to remember that. The next time you see a pretty girl or a handsome guy, consider for a moment that all you're seeing is as far as a mirror can go. A reflection does not bring to the surface all the nastier sides of people, all of the addictions and vices and cruelty. Remember me and what you may or may not have learned from my words, because I'm not planning to be around forever. Most importantly, the next time you're going to say something about how beautiful curly hair is, do us all a favour. Shut your mouth.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Angela is a character in a currently unfinished story revolving around Year Twelve students in a Boarding House who all have their own problems with which to deal. I wasn't planning to post it, but if anyone really wants me to I'll consider doing so.