"Elphaba, you horrible mean thing, you're pretty."
Galinda and Elphaba, standing before the dark window, lapsed into silence. Elphaba still wore the orangey swags of Galinda's hat, and Galinda stared at their reflections, next to each other with the rain pelting against the window.
It was Elphaba who broke the silence, in a rough whispery voice. "I mean, surprise like, 'well, what do you know?' It's not beauty."
She turned quickly, breaking the moment as she moved in her ungainly way across the room. She dropped the hat into its box and fell onto her bed, curling her knees to her chest.
Galinda stayed where she was, staring at the window. Her first inclination was the look at her own reflection. It was a habit she'd been perfecting for years. For the first time in her life, though, her eyes wandered away from her creamy ringlets, rosy cheeks, the angle of her chin and neck. For a moment, she tried to see beyond. She looked through her reflection, seeing hard, thick raindrops pelting against the dark glass and streaming away as if they had lives of their own.
But beyond that? Her eyes drifted, her mind searching for the world beyond her small view. When she way nothing but darkness, years of training returned to her. There she was, standing before her reflection, the same as she always was.
No. Something was different. Elphaba. Her curled form was behind her. Fighting her instincts once again, she forwent fixing he misplaced curl she spotted and turned around.
"You're wrong. You are pretty."
Elphaba didn't reply. She might've curled tighter, but Galinda couldn't be sure. She moved across the room, almost as if possessed by someone else. Already, she was uncomfortable, moving out of her normal processes. Nonetheless, she perched on the edge of Elphaba's bed. Elphaba sat up, as if coming out of a trance. She seemed as if she wanted to say something, or as if she was struggling for words. Finally, she said, "Well… what was it that was so interesting in that window? You don't strike me as one to watch the weather… perhaps you find your features entrancing, just like the rest of the world?"
"Actually…" Galinda trailed off. Why should she tell Elphaba anything? The question had been asked rhetorically. Of course Galinda had been looking at herself. What else would she be looking at?
Then again, the look on Elphaba's face… it was almost… expectant. Like she wanted to know. Like she wanted Galinda to answer the question, maybe even for herself. Anyway, Galinda had begun her answer. She could hardly go back.
"Actually, I was trying to see… beyond."
"Beyond my reflection, past the window, to the things I don't know."
"And what did you see?"
"A lot of rain… the darkness… you."
At that, Elphaba stiffened. Someone looking at me? Her stature seemed to ask, in the way her spine straightened, her knees pulled closer to her chest, her hands clenched onto her toes.
"You saw me?"
"In the window. You were behind me. The window caught your reflections."
"Whether or not I was in the reflection doesn't matter. You choose what you see."
That brought Galinda
up short. She'd never thought about that before, even though, upon
reflection, she realized that she'd though that way her whole life,
choosing to see only herself. So… why had she chosen to see
The question stabbed at Galinda, but even worse than the persisting question was the fact that she didn't have the answer. She was supposed to know the answer to everything. Elphaba's hand on her shoulder brought her back from her thoughts.
She looked up at Elphaba, unasked questions battering at her. Something fluttered in Elphaba's eyes, but Galinda couldn't tell what it was, bringing her to another harsh realization. She never looked at people's eyes. Eyes were reflective… all she'd ever seen in eyes was herself. But that night, maybe because of the lighting, or the way Galinda's perception was altered, she didn't see herself in Elphaba's eyes. She saw depth, emotion. Something undeniably human. Human… and when had Galinda ever acknowledged Elphaba as human?
"Galinda? Are you ok?"
"Yes… yes, I'm fine."
"I don't think so."
Trembling with questions, Galinda looked carefully at Elphaba. Still feeling unlike herself, as if in another body, she touched the green cheek- she'd never so much as touched the skin, which was remarkably soft- and said, "I'm… I'm sorry that I've been so cruel to you."
Elphaba seemed to fish for words for a moment, but finally she leaned forward and folded Galinda into a tight embrace. Galinda hardly reacted. She hadn't expected the gesture… and it was one of the few times she'd ever been faced with something that she couldn't control.
When they pulled back, Galinda found herself staring into Elphaba's deep brown eyes.
She didn't see her reflection, even though it was probably there. She saw emotions dancing: tenderness, fear, and more things that Galinda couldn't name. And past that, Galinda didn't know what she saw… but she knew that for one moment, she was seeing beyond.