“I still can’t believe this is happening,” Vicky squealed. Her thick round glasses made her look like an owl.
“Oh my gosh, I know!” Kathy giggled, “I didn’t think they even knew we existed!”
They glanced at themselves in the mirror; excitement beaming in their faces. Kathy put her earrings on.
“Now for the final touch,” Kathy smiled at Vicky.
She picked up the perfume bottle and sprayed just a tiny amount on her neck and on her wrists. The perfume was her dearest possession; it had belonged to Tina, Kathy’s older sister, and Kathy only wore it on special occasions. She passed the bottle to Vicky.
“Really? May I?” Vicky asked.
“It’s for good luck,” Kathy answered.
Vicky was careful to only use a tiny spritz behind her ears. Both girls fell silent as jasmine and lemongrass filled the room.
“An angel passed…”
“Tina, of course,” Kathy glanced at Vicky, her smile suspended in Tina’s scent.
Should she tell her best friend about Tina’s footsteps approaching her bed at nights, or about Tina’s laughter bursting through the walls when no one else was home?
“I feel her sometimes, you know,” Vicky said, her voice cautious.
“Yeah,” Kathy mumbled, “she’s watching us from heaven.”
Vicky wanted to say more but turned to the mirror. She gasped.
“Look,” she pointed.
Kathy followed Vicky’s gaze. The mirror no longer showed the image of the two excited girls, instead it showed a party replete with their classmates, well, only the popular kids. Kathy and Vicky did not belong to this group, and this was the party they would never ever in their wildest dreams attend. No one would invite them, and should they show up, they would be out on their butts in a flash. Kathy glanced at Vicky, whose owl eyes looked like two round moons.
The image in the mirror wound through the throngs of teenagers laughing and drinking. A couch appeared and, in it, sat Chad and Ian, the two boys who’d asked Kathy and Vicky on a date. Kyle, their friend, sat on the nearby chair. They were joking and laughing and swigging the cans of beer in their hands.
“Are you guys going to pick up those two nerds?” Kyle asked.
“We’ll leave in a few minutes,” Ian replied, “don’t get ahead of yourself, the night is young and we’ve caught the prey.”
“Easiest hundred bucks I ever made,” Chad chuckled.
“Don’t forget you have to go all the way, otherwise you lose the bet,” Kyle retorted.
“No problem,” Ian said, “those uggos are already eating out of the palms of our hands. We got this.”
“It’s a done deal,” Chad drove the knife home.
Kathy and Vicky stood speechless and shocked as they watched the exchange through the mirror. All the pieces fell into place; the date was just a game to them. Kathy felt the sting of tears and glanced at Vicky, whose glasses had misted over and wet streaks shone down her cheeks.
Tina’s perfume still hung in the air when the doorbell rang, and the mist from the spray hovered before the mirror. The girls’ eyes met and reached an unspoken agreement. Kathy flew out and reached the door as her father was about to open it.
“No Daddy, don’t,” Kathy whispered.
Her father stared at her through eyes sunken by deep sorrow. Tina’s death had left him haggard; a ragged soul in a middle-aged shell with a long life still ahead.
“Are you sure?” he asked.
“Yes, we’ve decided not to go.”
He gave her a puzzled look; his eyes trying to pierce her innermost thoughts.
“Okay,” he reassured her, “you don’t have to go. I’ll handle this.”
He ushered Kathy upstairs; she joined Vicky and listened to the murmur of voices at the front door. Vicky touched Tina’s perfume bottle, then looked at the mirror. Through the perfumed mist, Tina’s smiling figure appeared in the glass. Her long black hair hung loose on her shoulders, and the green dress they’d buried her in shone like light passing through emeralds.
“Thank you,” the girls murmured in unison.
Tina smiled at them, and, as the mist dissipated, the girls noticed the pearly white wings on her back.