Who's The Fairest
It's 6:10 am. Raining. The yard's purple with fog. Rivulets descend on the window. Turning on the bathroom light makes him squint. And after all the halos and auras disappear, he can see a face in the mirror. It's just his face, but it brings a tsunami of judgments and analyses. And a whirlwind of chatter. The usual. He doesn't want to look at it. He breathes deeply and audibly and forcefully. The face is still there, breathing, and it seems to him to be remarkably like his grandfather's.
He's not at all sure what parts of his face used to belong to his grandfather. The broad forehead seems familiar, and the hook of the nose. Maybe the thinning grey hair. Or it is something else: an expression of early morning sadness, perhaps regret, being partially defeated upon awakening, wondering whether the Book of Job has some relevance to today's events. He looks at this hand-me-down face from his grandfather. It doesn't fit properly. It'll never be really his. He wonders what he has to do to get his own face.
These questions might very soon be forgotten. But in mid morning and two hours from home, now wearing a suit, he pauses in an office building bathroom to wash his hands. He likes the expensive Italian hardware and marble. He likes the designer bathroom lighting. He looks at himself in the smoked glass mirror. And he's mildly surprised to see that he's no longer wearing his maternal grandfather's visage. No. Now he's wearing his father's. This is what sometimes happens. The face he's wearing gets exchanged for another familiar one. He stares at the eyes, and the way his jaw round, and the shape of his ears. Is it his weight that makes this resemblance? Is it some timidity or fear or passivity in the corners of his mouth? "It's not much better," he says out loud. It echoes.