Rachelle pursed her lips – painted with L’oreal Infallible LeRouge lipstick – and clicked her fingernails – coated in Essie Mojito Madness green – as she eyed the girls on other side of the room. She wasn’t happy with the new girl – the one with the red nails and green lips – who had arrived two weeks before. She thought the girl was a novelty but she had totally, completely stolen all of Rachelle’s friends who described the girl as funny, and unique, and kooky. ‘Kooky is so 2009,’ she muttered.
She left the party, deciding that night was unsalvageable, and drove to the edge of town. She parked the car, took off her heals and walked into the thick black woods. After a few minutes, she smelled the smoke of her chimney and saw a soft glow up ahead. Inside the thatched roof cabin was the witch, an old woman measuring strange things liquids and putting them into a heavy pot.
Rachelle didn’t even knock and instead barged in yelling, ‘Alright, enough of this! Let’s just do the whole thing. Let’s go all out!’ She was referring to the various mystical ‘surgeries’ the witch had performed. Through potions, the witch had provided her with a smaller nose and a thinner waist and a fatter butt. Apparently it wasn’t enough. ‘They don’t love me enough. So, do whatever you have to do so that I’m perfect.’
The witch agreed and altered the recipe, which was supposed to be her dinner, to provide Rachelle with what she wanted. After an hour of mixing and boiling she scoped some of the pasty green sludge into a vial. ‘Drink this before you sleep and in the morning you’ll be perfect.’ Rachelle giddily took it home and consumed it.
She woke in the morning like it was Christmas Day, running to the mirror to see the changes. But there were none. It hadn’t worked, she supposed. But at school that day, her friends were back to normal, praised her for her beauty and for being so fun. They all booked lunches and brunches and movies for the following weekend. The new girl wasn’t invited.
But it didn’t stop at her friends. All the boys asked her out. Her parents bought a new car for their ‘perfect daughter. Life was grand. In the ensuing weeks, she acquired more accolades. She was crowned valedictorian and prom queen. She was pre-admitted to Harvard Medical School even though she hadn’t applied. At the mall, she caught a toddler after it slipped through the second floor railing. She was given the key to the city. A year later she won the lottery.
Rachelle returned to the witch to ask her, ‘I’m not different so why is everything else different?’
The witch replied, ‘You wanted to be perfect. Perfect is a subjective quality so I made you appear perfect to everyone in their own eyes.’
‘That doesn’t explain why all this amazing stuff is happening to me.’
‘In that regard, you are perfect. You’re always in the right place at the right time. You’re luckier than the average person. You’re the person everyone wants to be, the person you wanted to be.’
‘Yeah, but I didn’t earn any of it.’
‘You didn’t earn that nose either.’
Rachelle asked her to take it back. She had more than she could ever want, more than she could ever use. She felt uncomfortable that people did not hate her. She would hate her if she were someone else. But no one did. People congratulated her on her luck, her heroism, her wealth, her beauty, and her intelligence. They did so with genuine smiles and excitement in their voice. The town’s positivity was so consistent that it became unbelievable and overwhelming.
The witch said, ‘You can’t change it now. There is no potion powerful enough. After all, how perfect would you be if all your success could be wiped away with a drink?’
So the young girl lived alone in her big mansion, locked up, unable to stand the smiles and hugs of everyone she met. Sometimes she would see her friends walk down the street with the kooky new girl, laughing, and she wondered how she could be perfect again.