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Chapter 6 – Celebrity

This planet left me with so many questions unanswered, and I won’t lie, a bit sorrowful.
As I crossed the bridge with the flock from the Architect planet, all sorts of reflection blinded us. It took a while to get used to the mirrored environment.
Once we found a little shelter in a valley, I left the people to find someone to talk to about the situation.
Searching the area with so many glasses was no easy task. Besides the reflection disturbing my eyes, the mirrors were deceitful, giving me the need for an ever-ending alert mode. I felt haunted, but each time I looked back, I realize it was just my reflection.
Who would want to stay on such a planet? But above all, who set the mirrors there?
I walked into what felt like a maze made of reflecting walls and probably got lost so many times. I couldn’t tell the difference between turning right or left, and I started to feel powerless. Would I even meet someone? Was this just a trap? How will I find my way back to the valley?
When I felt like giving up, I finally caught sight of a different reflection. It was a mansion with a garden and a fountain in the middle. Maybe there was more than one, I couldn’t tell, as everything seemed like a mirage in the desert.
I focused my attention merely on that specific reflection, trying to pave my way to it.

Once I got closer, the path changed into cobblestones that led to a high gate. The entire mansion was fenced-in. Looking through the gate, I couldn’t see a custodian nor a gatekeeper. No one was looking after the wild garden. Looking closely, even the mansion, at first glance, a majestic residence with Rococò style facade, seemed more a decayed palace with no owner.
I decided to go round and come in from a backdoor, or at least find a little entrance to visit the palace. After all, if it were a disused property, it would have been perfect letting the people move in the meanwhile.

Inside the palace, it became evident that no one was no longer taking care of the greatness of the rooms: every framework, each object left to itself. The mansion gathered dust, but it was clear that once, it had the fame of entertaining big society parties and initiating intellectual salons. It reminded me of my first encounter with the crown. “I still have a score to settle.”
“The owner had to be in love with theatre and fine arts; maybe she or he is a performer. Peharps, a dancer.” I thought while strolling through the rooms. I finally heard a squicking, then some footsteps crossing the ceiling. “Someone is upstairs.” Then an angelic voice started singing, filling the air.

Upstairs, in front of me, at the end of a hallway shaped like a T, I could see a door ajar. That’s where the singing came from. I approached the room, peeping inside. The angelic voice was of an equally angelical woman, admiring herself in the mirror. It seemed like she was rehearsing a scene. I was mesmerized. At that point, the woman ceased the song, widened her eye looking in the mirror, and with an incredulous stare sparked: << Who are you? And why are you  chasing me?>>
I was stunned. I felt hurt by such an accusation. I replied confusedly, <<Sorry, I didn’t know someone lived here. I was looking for a shelter for some people that I came with.>> The woman, even at this point, didn’t turn to look at me, instead, she kept on scrutinizing me through the reflection, almost as if she was afraid of losing sight of herself.
Then she added: <<Well, come in. I hate when people stand at the door.>> The situation was surreal to me. I felt disturbed by her ways, but still, I got in showing all my uncertainty. She followed my moves from her mirror view. I could see her reflection but of her just the back. She ignored it and resume admiring herself while she said: <<It’s normal. It’s so for everyone when they see me the first time. People just froze at the sight of my beauty.>> The lady shrugged and started arranging her curls. “She’s so vain.” I found myself thinking a little bugged.

Overcame the initial discomfort, I started walking around her, trying to find a way to let her look away from her reflection. It seemed impossible. Therefore, I just started asking questions to get to know her and her story. <<This house it’s beautiful, and it’s no surprise that you are the owner; I heard you singing earlier. So, are you a singer?>> The lady seemed a shade piqued, most likely she expected me to recognize her on the spot. She replied: << I’m an actress. The greatest actress of my time! I can play out different characters in all the languages of the world. I traveled everywhere for work. I’m very much in demand, and everywhere I go, the crowd always hail me. I’m very influential, and everyone in the circle rushes to work with me or for me. Painters design my dresses, and tailors send them to me after a sartorial finish. No need to mention that my visual esthetic can stand the stage even without me talking.>> She sighed graciously, << Who wouldn’t want to be like me?>>

I was profoundly perplexed by that lady. She was there, looking herself in the mirror, without even noticing that nobody was around her. Probably, deep-down she knew she was left alone and was trying to fix the void by reflecting more on herself not to feel lonely.
<<Honestly, I wouldn’t want to be you.>> The lady was petrified, her eyes seemed empty while she whispered: <<Why wouldn’t you want to be me? I’m rich, I’m famous, I’m a celebrity. Everyone wants to be me.>>
I had the impression that my sentence was a slap in her face. I tried to choose my words better, not successfully. << Why then, do you spend so much time all alone in this room, looking at yourself? Don’t you have someone to talk to?>> She was noticeably upset: <<When people put you on a pedestal you just carry the title and be the role model. It’s lonely being on top, but it’s part of the game. I look at myself in the mirror because I need to be perfect. I need to rehearsal the perfect smile for my fan, even when I don’t feel that happy. I owe it to them. They look up to me.>>
That was the first unselfish thing she said, and I believed her. I could see that she was honest. I felt a lot of grieve for her emptiness, she was trapped in that unreachable and unrealistic image she sold to the public. Her real self was trapped in those mirrors, and probably she wanted it back.

When I got to planet n. 5, I wished could combine “business with pleasure,” rather I killed two birds with one stone.
I told the lady: <<What if I told you that there are people waiting for you out there?>>
For the very first moment I got her attention: <<Who is waiting for me? Why are we still here? Go out! I need to get ready for my people.>>

I smiled while leaving the room. We all need to be seen as special to someone, and we all need to look up to someone. But how much is too much weight of responsibility?

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