If I was you, I'd be really sad.
And she was. Mirabel was heartbroken, and growing tired of the daily reminders how much she was less than. The absence of a gift pained her, it weighed heavy on her heart and filled every thought with doubt. She didn't understand it - why she was being strung along in her siblings shadows.
"The truth is, gift or no gift, I am just as special as the rest of my family." She mumbled to herself. One day, she hoped, she would believe it. One day she would be able to look back, truly and inherently believing that she matched up to them.
Today, was not that day.
Pacing at the bottom of the staircase, Mirabel glared at the candle, after it had singled out, she couldn't help but feel as though it was watching her. Often times, mocking her.
"Let's try this again, shall we?" She planted her hand firmly on the bannister. "If you'd like to make amends, this is the moment, okay? It needs to be now." She paced up the stairs, as nights like this, where she couldn't sleep, pertained.
She didn't dare look up, or around. She knew she'd see them. Their hope, their excitement for the future. No, that memory was relived every time she went up the stairs, and so, she avoided them as much as she could. But, dreams were reckless and knew no boundaries. So, Mirabel was once again compelled to end it once and for all. "Please, let me fix this." Sharply, she took a deep breath, and held it as her hand hovered gently over the door knob. "Please."
The candle still stayed looking down on her. Nothing had changed.
She nodded gently. "Right." Her head hung low as she made her way back down the stairs. "I see." She looked back at the hallway, her eyes meeting every door her siblings resided behind. "I am just as special, as the rest of my family." She forced, swallowing the lump in her throat.
Make my family proud. With no gift, how could she? They assured her she was fine, but the pitying looks said otherwise. The town, they mostly saw right through her as soon as they learned she didn't have a gift.
"You don't have to overdo it" Her mother said gently, her watchful eyes following Mirabel as she had prepared for Antonio's big day.
"I'm fine, Mama, seriously."
"If you ever wanna talk.." She said tentatively.
She decided against it, opting to get the night over with, and blend into the background sorting everything behind the scenes. "No need - mama thank you"
But Antonio had needed her. And she was once again in the spotlight.
The pain of reliving her ordeal was made ten times worse as she stood in the centre of everyone's worry. She had caused that look on their faces, her incident was festering in the back of their minds. Still, she bit her tongue and powered through until his door came to life, his gift bestowed upon him and a sigh of relief was had by everyone.
Everyone except her.
This is good.
She held that belief for him. She was proud of Antonio. But, the process wasn't any less painful. It was perhaps more so, now it was confirmed. Everything was in working order, there wasn't any kind of fault in the system except her. She had been singled out.
You have nothing to prove
Her parents voices echoed in her mind. But then, in that moment, it couldn't feel farther from the truth. It only reinforced her habitual attempts of starting over. She had climbed the stairs repeatedly, and never did anything happen.
"Why not me?" She asked. "What have I done wrong?"
As another steps into the light, to make us proud.
She was failing.
The morning came, much too quickly Mirabel decided. She had paced up and down the stairs a dozen times in the weeks following Antonino's gift ceremony. Encanto had decided not to make amends, and her future was very much looked to be set in stone. It was a grim feeling. The toll it was taking was only growing more apparent; the under of her eyes were beginning to match the purple flowers scattered on her skirt, she spent more and more time in the nursery, her growing absence particularly noted by the villages children.
These however, were just a fraction of the clues that shot fear into Julieta's heart. Her anguish for her daughter did not cease, it got deeper with each passing day. Her gut instincts had gone haywire, and sirens were blaring loudly in her head. Still, she kept composure. She wanted to trust that Mirabel would feel comfortable enough to confide in her. It pained her each time she did not.
More than anything, she longed to be able to cure emotional pain. She wanted a meal to fix everything, as it usually did.
"You're rather quiet today, Mirabel."
"Are you okay?"
"Yes." Mirabel nodded affirmatively. "I'm okay. Are you?"
Julieta stammered, her mouth moved, but nothing was said.
"Mirabel, your mother and I are a little concerned about you."
Make my family proud
"Why?" Mirabel swallowed hard. She would not worry them, she would not put them in the impossible situation of trying to fix what was wrong when she had tried over and over already.
"You don't seem yourself." Julieta placed a hand on Mirabel's shoulder and sat beside her at the table. She managed to muster a warm smile, but flickers of her worry still shone through, not going amiss by her daughter. For a second, Mirabel embraced the shared experience of lack of sleep, she let herself revel in being noticed, in being cared for, it was quickly swept away with the sinking feeling that her feelings were now becoming bigger than herself.
There was silence, silence that Mirabel deeply regretted neglecting as Julieta continued. "I miss my sunshine, what happened to my Mirabel who had bags of energy and faced whatever came at her with a can-do attitude?"
Pursing her lips, Mirabel's glance dropped from her mother to the table. Julieta cringed a little at this loss, shuffling forward in hopes to see her daughters face.
"You can talk to us kiddo." Augustin spoke quietly.
"I'm good, really. Keeping Antonio company these days meaning looking after a zoo" She chuckled dryly "And I've been knitting more - and you know how I am with projects, I just need some sleep." She smiled lightly. Her father smiled, seemingly content with the response.
"Okay." Julieta exhaled, furrowing her brows. "Please, make sure you do." Resting the palm of her hand on Mirabels cheek, "If there's anything else, you know you can talk to me anytime, day or night?" She pressed, looking deeply into her daughters eyes.
Mirabel nodded, "I do."
"I love you, Mirabel Madrigal" Julieta kissed the top of Mirabel's head, before ushering both her and Augustin out.