Canary In A Coal Mine

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34 votes

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Breathe honesty on a lie, it will heal; even if your whole life is a lie. Because these days I can see everyone without anyone seeing me.
I can walk anywhere, absorb conversations, or just sit down without all the stress.
However, it wasn't always this peaceful.

Some time ago I got a kit with exfoliating scrubs, lotions and cleansers from the agency; they told me all the models used it.

I went home curious about the kit. I grabbed a tube. Rolled the cap off and caught a whiff of strawberry. I squeezed the tube and applied the exfoliating scrub on my fingers. With a circular motion on my forehead I spread the cream very gently, not to cause skin irritation.
I continued down my nose, on my chin and around my cheeks.

Once a day became twice and then three times. God! It was so good, so soothing, and the best part was; it showed positive results. No spots on my skin, no lines or uneven complexion,
just an effortless smooth. Like a porcelain doll, they told me. Even Jessica, who modeled for the biggest names in the business said so - she really did.

I began using the complementary body scrub; it transformed the rest of me. I felt so fresh and invigorated. I was sexiful, plentiful... powerful.

But then, after half a year or so, people started to look at me with insidious glares.
I could feel their eyes peering from top to toe.

I rushed home and scrutinized my reflection in the mirror;
didn't my scrub work anymore?

So, I started using the scrub more and more everyday.
People told me to stop, but you know how some people are, constantly meddling in your affairs, probably jealous of your success.

Now listen, I’ll tell you something - they conspired against me.
How do I know?
Because they told me to take some, vacation.
I bet it was Jessica's doing. She probably felt threatened.
Most likely she had it together with the boss and manipulated him. I’m sure they laughed at my portfolio too.

I sat at home staring at the several tubes of scrubs and cleansers. That week I only ate porridge in order to control my weight. It was during that time I scrubbed off the top layer of my nose.
If you had gently blown on my skin you would have seen flakes spiral through the air.

Few days ago the scrub made my left cheek invisible. And it wasn't long until the rest of my body disappeared.

Hey friend, don't worry, I'm out of that world now. It's fine,
it really is.
Like I said, these days I go wherever I choose without anyone scrutinizing me.
No more harsh comments, or people looking strangely at my nose, my waist or stomach.
Eventually canary birds fly out of the black coal mine; tainted wings or not.


Image of Spring 2019


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Image of Eva Medina
Eva Medina · ago
Excellent! :D
Image of Keith Simmonds
Keith Simmonds · ago
A great story, powerful and profound, and keeps us thinking ! My votes !
What about having a look at mine, “The Awakening”, and tell me what
you think? Thanks in advance!

Image of Annette
Annette · ago
Loved the story Robert. You’re a great writer x
Image of Azaliah Maps
Azaliah Maps · ago
An interesting perspective that I’m sure all can relate to - at some point in our jounerys at least.
Image of Operamom
Operamom · ago
Wow, you really pulled me in. This story gives one something to think about, being obsessed with external beauty, then disappearing. Unique perspective. Btw, thanks for commenting on my story, The Toaster.
Image of Rich
Rich · ago
Interesting thoughts on self idolization in the selfie age!
Image of Lala
Lala · ago
An interesting take on our ideas of beauty and the fragility of self worth! Congratulations.
Image of Robert H. Lindberg
Robert H. Lindberg · ago
Thank you Lala. It's interesting to see how beauty ideals have shifted through the years. In the 1700s attractive women, for those days, would have been considered fat. Marilyn Monroe would have been a plus size in today's standards. I think it's important we stop and question the norms of our day and what they do to us, and yes, our self worth. We are strong and fragile at the same time. Thank you for reading. It means a lot :) health and happiness/Robert
Image of Roxy Leaver
Roxy Leaver · ago
The concept for the idea behind it is really good, draws attention to how fragile our mental health is and how easy it is to allow the pressures other people put on us to be absorbed into how we treat ourselves.
Image of Robert H. Lindberg
Robert H. Lindberg · ago
Thank you Rox for the read, it means a lot. This story came to me when a friend of mine was applying an exfoliating scrub. The very detailed precision made me think of how exact everything had to be and then, what if one day there wasn't all these lotions for my friend? It felt stressful. And I felt sorry in the sense that I don't want anyone to be sad and stressed due to that. So I put myself in that feeling and that's when I began to write. I heard with other friends and what their relationship to all this was. For many it's routine. They don't even think about it. But I think it sneaks up on us and tears at our self worth and we become dependant on it. But today is different. There is more empowerment and people who love us, sans make up or not.
Image of Seyhassneth Heng
Seyhassneth Heng · ago
Love the idea and value in this short story
Image of Robert H. Lindberg
Robert H. Lindberg · ago
Thank you Sey for reading. It's a story that seems to be current. Beauty ideals and the toll it takes on us and our self worth. Good to know is, there is empowerment and there are people who love us, sans make up or not.