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Recreating Rebecca by Nils Durban
SUMMARY: 1 of 5 entries in the October "vs." flash fiction competition.
Rebecca had hated both herself and her Judaic ancestry for what amounted to virtually her entire life. The reason for this was not a religious one; she was no longer close to her family and hadn't been inside a synagogue for almost ten years. The reason was that every time she looked into a mirror the features that stared back at her appeared foreign to her, as if they ought to belong to another. On top of this, it was not a visage that she liked. She thought herself quite manly looking, and as a result, ugly.
She detested her sallow complexion and her hawk-like nose, her thin lips and her large ears. Her hatred extended to her body, her stick-like figure with total lack of anything resembling breasts or an ass, her overlarge feet, the embarrassing body hair.
As a child she had never gone without the love of her Mother, but she always recalled her envy of the other girls whose mothers had filled them with confidence by telling them how beautiful they were. In a way she was glad that her Mother had not done this – the lie would have quickly caught up with her, probably with an even more detrimental effect.
There had never been men (or even a man) and hence there was no thought of ever having a family of her own.
On a day to day basis she got along fine; her HR role within the LAPD ate up much of her free time (mainly because she allowed it to) and generally she could be herself. Or, at least, she could be who she pretended to be. But there was always the mirror. There were always mirrors. She told herself that her battle was with the mirrors and avoided them wherever she could but, in reality, she knew that her fight was with herself.
Then something happened, or rather, two things happened, that were to change things dramatically. The first of these was the long expected death of her Mother's brother from lung cancer. He had invested heavily in the dot com boom and had miraculously got out at exactly the right time with the result that he had become a millionaire several times over. The family was large but the inheritance was even more so and hence each grandchild, nephew and niece each received several hundred thousand dollars.
The other thing was a late night TV program. A real life show that detailed the procedures and (more importantly to Rebecca) the results of cosmetic and reconstructive surgery, some of it quite extreme.
She mulled over the possibilities for what felt like weeks but what actually amounted to only a handful of days. She then made a number of consultation appointments and eventually decided upon a surgeon that she felt she trusted.
The counselling session was obligatory in light of the extent of the work she was having done.
"Have you really thought this through?"
"The recovery period will be long and painful."
"I'm ready for that and I have about a month and a half of vacation time owed me."
"People may not recognise you at first."
"What if you don't like what you become?"
"I don't like what I am."
One week later she realised exactly how painful.