The Mannequin and Me

A woman standing in the street lighting a cigarette next to a window with a mannequin

She needed a break. Hours of non-stop work had taken a toll on her, typing away on her laptop, answering emails, making calls, and dealing with deadlines. She felt like she was drowning in work and stress. Grabbing her jacket and her cigarettes, she headed to the front of the building, where there was a large window that faced the street.

A cigarette was lit, and she took a long drag, exhaling slowly. The nicotine calmed her nerves and relaxed her muscles. Leaning against the wall, she looked at the window. Next to her stood a mannequin, dressed in a short denim dress. It was part of a display for a clothing store on the ground floor.

The mannequin made her frown. It looked so casual and carefree, so different from how she felt. What would it be like to be a mannequin, to have no worries or responsibilities, to just stand there and look cute? She imagined swapping places with it, wearing its dress and shoes, posing in the window. Would anyone notice?

Another drag of her cigarette was taken and she flicked the ash. A man walked by on the street and stopped to look at the window. He seemed to be staring at her. A surge of self-consciousness and embarrassment filled her. She quickly looked away and pretended to be interested in something else.

She glanced back at the mannequin. It was still looking at the window, unfazed by the attention. Its smug expression seemed to mock her. A pang of envy and resentment hit her. She wished she could be as cool and confident as it was. She wished she could have its life.

Her cigarette was finished, and she threw it in the dustbin. She straightened her jacket and her hair and headed back to her office. She had work to do. She couldn’t afford to waste time fantasizing about being someone else.

She walked past the window and gave the mannequin one last look. It was still looking at the window, oblivious to her existence.

She sighed and walked on.

Focal length16mm
Shutter speed1/500s

By Donncha

Donncha Ó Caoimh is a software developer at Automattic and WordPress plugin developer. He posts photos at In Photos and can also be found on Twitter.

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