Shera was nothing but common. Nothing about her stood out. She was not particularly beautiful nor dramatically ugly.
She wasn’t even all that cute.
She was just common.
People tended to look past her. No one ever looked at her.
Then, she found the mask at the antique store.
The store was dimly lit with a perpetual layer of dust hanging in the air. The dust had a old perfumed tang to it.
The kind of perfume that really old grandmothers wore. Rose-dense with a slapdash of something headier.
It clogged up Shera’s head. It made her feel like someone had rolled up a washcloth and stuffed it under her skin from one side of her forehead to the other.
It was all too much, too overbearing.
“I have to leave.” She turned and bumped into a tv dinner table that was apparently made out of super cheap plywood. It toppled over and exploded into a mess of pieces.
Shera backed away from the disaster and bumped into something that fell into a dramatic crash. It sounded like a lot of glass. Thick, heavy glass. Thick heavy glass that was expensive.
She turned around to check out the damage.
Much to her surprise, a mask lay on top of the shattered multi-colored glass.
Normally, she wouldn’t have given the mask a first or second look. After all, she was pretty much invisible. Why wear a mask and make matters worse?
But this was no ordinary mask.
It was a mask of her own face.
A small part of her mind freaked out and urged her to run away. There was something wrong with this situation. Something terribly wrong with this mask.
But she carefully knelt and picked it up.
It was her face, no mistake about it, albeit her face with cutout eyes. Yet, it wasn’t her face. The features were smoothed into something uncommon.
Something that no one would overlook.
No one would ignore.
She gently brushed out the shards of glass sticking to the inside. She ran her hand over it one more time, just to be sure there weren’t any fine bits still in there.
Shera turned it face side up.
It was creepy and somehow disturbing in its inexplicableness.
She glanced around, trying to find a safe place to put it.
But there was nothing nearby.
She examined the mask again.
Its smoothed features.
Its empty eye holes.
The elastic band that was meant to go around the wearer’s head.
“Around my head. This is mine.”
She walked over to a rolltop desk and tried to open it.
But it was locked.
She glanced around.
There was nowhere to put it. All of the shelves were occupied. All of the tables filled with an assortment of things and junk.
Shera looked down at the mask.
“It’s my face. It belongs to me.”
Then, a strange thought occurred to her.
“It was waiting for me to come and find it.”
I can’t let anyone else wear my face.
She stroked the perfected features.
“My perfect face. It belongs to just me and no one else.”
She stroked the inside of the mask, noticing for the first time how soft and clean it felt.
Like something perfect.
“It is perfect. It’s a chance for me to become someone extraordinary and perfect.”
She held it up to eye level and smiled.
And there were no more doubts.
No more uncertainties.
She didn’t even take a breath.
She didn’t hesitate.
She put the mask on and gasped.
The mask felt divine against her skin.
It felt like it belonged on her skin.
Yes, this is mine.
She left the store and held her head with pride.
“I am nothing but common.” She smiled under the mask.
I am not common anymore.
I am amazing.
I am uncommon.
I will be noticed.
I will be seen.
She walked down the street with a strange feeling of anticipation and inexplicable dread.
I will not be invisible anymore.