Many Years

Julia sat in history class, bored out of her mind. She was a good student in all of her other classes, but she was failing history. She always tried to do her homework and study for the tests but she could never find the motivation. The current lesson was about the Great Depression. It was all data and stats, nothing interesting. Julia looked at the clock wistfully. The class didn’t end for another thirty minutes.

She raised her hand, waiting for attention. “Yes, Julia?” asked the teacher.

“Can I go to the bathroom,”

“Very well,” the teacher sighed, “be quick about it,”

“Yes ma’am,” Julia stood up and left the classroom. The nearest bathroom was on the other side of the hallway. Julia took her time getting there. She pushed the heavy door to the girl’s bathroom open. She, of course, did not actually have to use the bathroom. She just wanted a good reason to escape the classroom. She stood in front of the mirror staring at her reflection.

Then her reflection was gone! In her place stood tall girl wearing a neon purple mini skirt with electric-blue leggings underneath. She had a black, off-the-shoulder top with a large AC/DC logo on it. She had her bushy, dirty blonde hair tied up in a high ponytail with a neon green scrunchie. She had vibrant eyeshadow that would be laughed at today. She pulled a tube of light pink lip gloss and started reapplying it.

Seeing the strange image in the mirror shocked Julia. It looked like a high school student from the eighties. Was she hallucinating? It was as if she was looking through a one-way mirror. She leaned forward cautiously and tapped the glass. The strange girl didn’t seem to notice. Julia moved her head side to side a bit and the image shifted into another girl slightly older this time. Julia walked along the length of the mirror and the image continued to change. At the end of the mirror was a woman wearing what looked like late twenties clothes.

Julia paced the mirror trying to get her bearings. When she settled down again, she stopped at the eighties girl. She moved to her left just enough so that the next image was clear. This one wore a low waist pair of denim pants that flared out boldly at the knee. Tucked into her waistband was a high-necked plaid sweater. Her wavy blonde hair was feathered around her face. She wore thick, very tan foundation and heavy eyeliner. Julia thought this must be from the seventies, but she expected a tye-dye hippie, however, the large hoop earrings and the peace necklace more than made up for it.

She shifted over a bit to look at the next image. The people in the images seemed to have aged through the decades. The next woman looked like she was in her early twenties, and wore a yellow pastel sweater with a matching skirt. Her hair was a rich, chocolate brown, shoulder length and straight. She wore a wide, white headband with her hair teased up around it. Her vibrant blue eyes popped with heavy black mascara. Julia thought this girl must be from the sixties, but she was not a fan of the style.

Julia quickly moved onto the next image, which she liked much better. The girl wore a large, red polka-dotted skirt with a collared black shirt. She wore her black hair in tight curls around her face. She had a red headband tied around her hair so it made a bow on the side of her head. She wore small pearl studs that stood out like stars against her midnight hair. Her face was smooth and pale. Bright red lips popped against her fair complexion along with dark winged eyeliner. This was by far Julia’s favorite image so far. She looked at the stunning girl or a moment then moved on.

The next woman wore a navy-blue dress that came down to her knees. The dress had buttons going all the way down and a belt around the waist. The top of the dress was collared with sleeves and breast pockets. She looked very mature and professional. Her hair was a rich brow, kept in a sleek, efficient way. She had red lips like the previous but the eyeliner was less prominent. Julia quickly backtracked and counted up the years; this girl was from the forties.

The next woman has a slightly longer, less form-fitting dress. The color was subdued, and the dress seemed less extravagant. Her hair was cut short in a curly bob. She seemed soberer and less happy than all the other women. Her eyes were sunken in and her face sagged with worry lines. She was thin and looked hungry. Julia wondered to her self what could have caused someone to look so depressed. She realized that this was the image for the thirties, the same time as the Great Depression was going on.

To Julia, the Great Depression was just a matter of economy and money. Just a series of dates in a textbook. She had never thought of the effect it had on the people. Looking at the poor woman’s face, and imagining an entire nation like that made her soul quiver. Julia slowly moved on to the next picture, expecting the worst.

The woman in the next frame was dressed in a long flapper outfit. She was laughing and seemed very happy. Her hair was short and curled with a large rhinestone headband. She wore a long pearl necklace that matched the necklace along with her milky complexion. It surprised Julia to see someone so happy before such a dark time. She seemed totally oblivious to the pain and suffering just around the corner.

Julia was deep in thought when someone came into the bathroom. She quickly snapped back into reality and checked her watch. She had almost spent the entire thirty minutes! Julia rushed out of the bathroom and back to class. When she made it back there was only five minutes left in class. She soaked up every minute of it. After seeing the images in the mirror she discovered a newfound interest in history.

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