Layla takes four sweaters into the changing room. The first is angora, mint-green and fluffy; soft as feathers against her bare skin.
She checks her reflection in the mirror. Checks again. Again. Staring back at her with its blind eyes is a creature from a TV documentary. A sea slug.
Shuddering, she pulls the sweater over her head. It’s clammy. Smells of salt. She’s over-heating and tired. She didn’t sleep well. Perhaps she has a fever.
Next the plain blue sweater. She bangs on the mirror. The shop is trying to trick her. Some kind of joke. A hidden projector. How dare they. She bangs again. The blue-faced creature, blue jawed and sharp-toothed, wobbles.
The pale pink sweater transforms her into a jellyfish. She throws it on the changing room floor in disgust. She should leave….yet there’s still the striped sweater.
The shop has grown bored of its silly joke – she looks pretty in this one. Who knew she had such plump red lips? Such large, black eyes?
At the till, she says, ‘You have strange mirrors in this shop.’ She intended to complain but she lost her nerve.
The assistant shrugs.
At the door she takes the sweater out of its bag and slips it on. Outside, on the pavement, she is suddenly gasping for air.