“This one or that one?”
Hayley looked over the rim of her book on Greek myths. Her two teenage nieces were sitting on the deck. With the soft green summer garden behind them, their smooth brows wrinkled as they studied their iPhones.
“That one is hot,” Katy said seriously, “That one’s ugly.”
Jenna took this assessment calmly. She shook out her long chestnut hair. Craning her swan-like neck, she raised her slender arm and took another selfie. Then her head was bent again, as she studied the screen of her phone.
“You guys are so narcissistic,” Hayley said.
“What?” Jenna stared anxiously at the picture.
“It means you love yourself,” explained Katy, scrolling through her pictures.
“Well why don’t you just say that instead of narciss – whatever?”
“Do you know who Narcissus was?” Hayley asked.
Jenna and Katy looked annoyed, and slightly impatient.
“Narcissus was the most beautiful guy in ancient Greece. One day he stopped by a stream and saw his own reflection. He was so obsessed by his beauty he couldn’t move. The gods punished him by turning him into the narcissus flower, always bent over the water, gazing at itself.”
“Why do you read those old stories?” Jenna frowned.
“Maybe there’s more wisdom in the old stories than we realise.”
Jenna and Katy stared into space for a moment, their fingers poised over their iPhones.
They exchanged glances.
“Hey, what do you think of this one?” Katy asked Jenna.
“That’s really hot,” Jenna said.
Hayley shrugged and went back to reading her book, as the girls resumed their selfie-taking. She looked over once, and saw them, heads bent over, like two beautiful flowers, lost in the shimmering glass screens of their own unattainable image.
* * * * *