Jane gently glided her nails across her face feeling for pimples. Once a small, fleshy hill caught under her nail, she picked. She picked until blood and puss oozed under her nail beds, then glided her nails across her skin looking for more. The cold air seeped into the open wounds on her face as she sighed at her image in the mirror. Such an ugly and plain girl. All she ever did was go to work and come home and pick her face.
Work wasn’t so bad since she was quite invisible, but she would have liked to have been seen for once. She wondered if it was her dull personality that made her translucent. Or maybe it was her soft spoken voice that was irritably inaudible. Jane scrunched her brows and picked her face even more at the thought. It seemed she was cursed with this life and Jane didn’t know what else to do but live it.
The next morning, Jane sat behind her computer monitor at work as her fingers moved mindlessly across the keyboard. The mundane moments that moved her day along were interrupted by her coworkers’ glamour. They weren’t what she considered cool, but she did think they were beautiful and she often wondered what their lives were like outside the office. She sunk in her chair and let envy’s cold fingertips crawl across her chest. Seeing these women made Jane graze her fingertips across her face. All she needed was to be someone else.
Jane picked her face as she stared at the fish in the tank in the waiting room of the most prestige plastic surgeon in the country, Dr. Nome. The room was very clean and very white with a splash of nude around the border. The office felt cold and hard. All the nurses wore long sleeved shirts under their scrubs and Jane cursed herself for not thinking to wear something warmer. Of course it would be cold in a place where people completely change who they are. It would be alarming to be in a such a place and feel warm and invited.
“Jane Doe,” the nurse called. She looked at Jane and made a face that Jane couldn’t quite read. She went into an examining room where they checked her heartbeat, blood pressure and all her vitals.
Jane had spoke with Dr. Nome before even coming into the office. It was all over email, but nonetheless, Jane felt she was perfectly clear about what she wanted. Plastic surgery was risky and if she was going to risk her old life for a new one, she had to make sure it was going to be worth it.
A young doctor with smooth, glowing skin entered the room.
She snapped on latex gloves and told Jane to roll up her left sleeve. She rubbed a cleaning agent on her shoulder then grabbed a large syringe with blue liquid inside.
“On the count of three, now,” said Dr. Nome.
“One, two -,” she pushed the needle through Jane’s shoulder and to Jane’s surprise, it wasn’t that painful. Dr. Nome cleaned up her shoulder and said,
“Ok. You’re all done!”
She took a step back and looked over Jane satisfied.
“Just a shot? What about surgery?” Jane asked.
“You don’t need one.”
“But I look and feel the same!”
Jane was horrified. Had she wasted thousands of dollars just to be the same person?
“Just go home, give it a few hours and you will have a brand new face,” Dr. Nome reassured.
So, she did. She went home and waited and waited and waited. She sat in the mirror and studied her face waiting for the slightest change and still nothing happened. Jane was quite disappointed and decided that she was in fact doomed to live this plain and boring life, with this plain and boring face. She raised her hand and began her ritual of gliding her nails across her skin looking for some pimple or some scab to release her aggression. She found a freshly scabbed wound right under her chin and began to pick.
Layers of her skin began to peel back and what was revealed was an even prettier face than she could have ever imagined. Her cheek bones were raised and her lips more plump. Her nostrils seemed to finally have the same circumference and all her pimples were wiped clean. Her eyes were a golden hazel and her lashes extended past her brow. Jane stayed in front of the mirror for the rest of the night, touching and admiring her face.
She went to work with a new confidence and her coworkers were impressed by her new face. She was more beautiful and more confident and everyone in the office treated her that way.
Jane felt like she should begin going out and socializing, but even in her new face she still felt insecure. Her coworkers definitely noticed her now, but her face still wasn’t interesting enough to be invited out. So she went back to Dr. Nome and asked for an even prettier face.
Dr. Nome stood with her feet firm on the ground and her arms crossed.
“This procedure should only be done once.”
“Please! I’ll give you an extra $25,000!”
Desperation resonated in Jane’s voice. Dr. Nome was reluctant but she indeed gave Jane another shot of the blue serum. Jane rushed home, sat in front of her mirror and waited. An hour passed and Jane began picking her face, yet again. An even more beautiful face was revealed and she knew with this face she needed.
And it was. Jane was finally invited out by her not-cool-but-beautiful-and-glamorous-coworkers. It was a night that Jane would never forget because that night she fell in love with a man, who happened to be a friend of the coworkers she went out with. And though he was sweet and kind, he wasn’t interested.
Jane knew for sure a different face would be the face to entice her new love. For the last time, Jane travelled to Dr. Nome’s office and asked for help, “This will be my last time, I promise! I’ll give you $100,000 more, please!”
Dr. Nome didn’t care about the money, she was more concerned about the wild look in Jane’s eyes and wondered if it was the serum that was making her this way or if she was always this way.
“I have never done it this many times. I’m not sure if it will work again, you were very lucky the last time. After this, no more.”
Jane knew this face would be different, the best even. For the final time, Jane sat in front of her mirror and grazed her nails across her face knowing her life would change forever.
A piece of flesh began to lift around her temple and Jane picked. Her head began to throb but she still picked and peeled until her fingertips became slippery. She pulled her hand away from her face and to her horror, blood, veins and muscles was now the face she used to know as her own.
Jane screamed as she threw herself away from the mirror, but no matter where she turned she was haunted with her bloody image. She grabbed her thickest pair of scissors and tried gauging out her eyes, but it was too late.