Six hours later, I stood in front of the mirror, trying to take myself seriously. Everything felt so surreal.
I’d had to transform to get my measurements, and once transformed, I realised Zoe’s powers weren’t just about strength. Just by taking her form, I felt an overwhelming surge of dexterity and finesse, and my body seemed to just be capable of doing whatever I needed it to do.
Somehow, I managed to sew an entire costume in only a few hours, then spent another couple making alterations and trying to make it look, well, cool. I wasn’t sure how successful I was, but it sure was a costume.
I sighed, staring at the face that wasn’t mine, the body that wasn’t me.
“Why am I only powerful when I’m white?” I asked my reflection, complaining out loud.
“You have a pretty narrow understanding of power,” my reflection answered, surprising me.
“Envy?” I asked.
“You remembered!” she said, sounding gleeful.
“Are you in every reflection?”
“More or less,” she said. “Are you always this mopey?”
“Yes,” I answered. “You, you seem to know more about this power than me. Can I have her strength without looking like her?”
She shrugged, then twirled around, checking out the costume on herself. Her body language was so different to mine.
“Wow, you’ve got skills, girl,” she said, giggling. “You can sew?”
“I’ve been teaching myself,” I muttered. “I like fashion.”
“Well, colour me impressed.”
I watched her move around in the mirror, so comfortable in her own skin. What did that feel like, to actually feel like your body was right for you? I just felt like a puppeteer in a sack of expired meat.
“You’re upset,” she said, pouting. “Talk to me, sweetheart. What’s going on in that pretty head of yours?”
I frowned at her level of familiarity. Also, I was surprised she didn’t know what was going on in my head. I’d just assumed that she would.
“I just… I don’t understand how you can look so natural,” I said. “That’s not your body. So why do you seem so normal in it?”
“What, this old thing?” She tugged at her cheek and poked her stomach. “Just something I threw on. See, your body is just, it’s a shell, you see? It’s like clothes. You can change it, if you want. What matters is how you wear it.”
“You know up until recently I couldn’t change it at all, right?” I asked, crossing my arms.
“You really believed that? Wow, that must have really sucked,” she said, sounding surprisingly sympathetic.
“You don’t know much about humans, do you?” I asked.
“Oh honey, I know everything about humans. It seems like maybe you don’t know enough about them.”
She stood with her hands on her hips, and I couldn’t help but to laugh.
“What are you talking about?”
“Your body is yours,” she said. “It isn’t you. And you can do whatever you like to it, to make it fit just a little better.”
“I’m never gonna look the way I want to look,” I said grimly. “I’ll never have the body I want to have.”
“Wrong, wrong,” she said in a sing-song voice. “I know times are different here, not quite as ahead as where I’m from, but I know there’s plenty more you can do.”
“I don’t understand,” I said.
“Well, that’s obvious. Look, start with this.” She pulled something from behind her back, a small bottle of pills. She threw it towards me, and somehow, I caught it.
“You weren’t still thinking I’m not real, where you?” she asked, feigning offence. “How rude. I’m tempted to take those back, now.”
“How did you do that?” I asked, turning the bottle over in my hand. It felt so real.
“I’m a lot more than just a voice in your head,” she told me. “Those, by the way, are estrogen pills. They might help you start to look a little more like yourself.”
“I’m supposed to take pills from a stranger?”
“Honey, I may be strange, but I am no stranger,” she said. “I told you, I’m you. You’re me. We’re us.”
“But what does that mean?” I asked.
“It means we need each other,” she said, suddenly serious. “Without you, I’m never going to survive. And without me, well, you’re not gonna fare much better. Something’s coming, Sabrina.”
“What’s coming?” I demanded. “You can just throw generic vagueries at me all of the time!”
“Can too,” she said petulantly. “Look, we’ve only just started to get to know each other. Don’t rush things! Just, enjoy the ride, you know?”
Before I could answer, she disappeared, replaced in an instant with my proper reflection. I shook my head. It still looked like a stranger to me.