The Somebody in the Mirror

As she sat in the warmth of sunlight dripping into the top floor of the little mountaintop house, she contemplated on the right set of words to start.

I didn’t do it.

I gave up.

I tried my best.

I was depressed.

I’m trying to get better…

Each paragraph lasted several sentences before her finger slammed down on ENTER twice, pushing the reasons out of sight and leaving her with a blank screen meant to serve as her tapestry of thought. However, just as time had treated her before, she sat up and walked away, leaving the untouched blog drifting alone on the internet, without new content or word from its writer.

The leaves outside her window churned colours and curled at the edges, one by one snapping from the branches to fall on browning grass. The sunlight soon faded to a dusk, quicker each day, and clouds began roaming the skies frequently, gazelle in a plain safe from predators. Even when the grey washed over the grounds and faded to white, still she gazed out, unmoved and uninspired; even as the oceans of snow melted into riverbeds of roses and daises and sunflowers, she stood untouched. Greener than all ancestors, leaves bloomed from the trees across the mountain top. All death disappeared, leaving nothing but sunny skies and gentle afternoon breezes.

Seasons passed as her eyes grew weary, back turned from the world around her, heart muffled with the tales trying to whisper ideas in her head. She turned her back to each sunrise and gazed out at each sky fall. She went on and on, watching deep into darkness, until the day her heart forced a discovery onto her, bittered by decades of neglect.

You were never meant to be what you dreamed. You were wrong, all along.

The whispers entangled themselves around her rip cage and snaked down her spine with tight constraint, forcing her to stand dramatically upright. A single tear fell down her pale cheek as her eyes reflected both the sunfall outside and the cold reflection of her age back to her.

Never meant to be… a writer… I hate writing… because I hate myself. I hate every story. And I can’t stand the worthless story I see… starring back at me…

Every pint of fear she felt in gazing upon a blank page of that abandoned blog returned to her, as did every day she had sat at the local cafe full of adventurous foreigners looking to experience the world; as did each morning the landscape changed itself in the gold of the Sun; as did the overheard conversations at the beach and in the market and at the office; as did the loving exchanges with past lovers; as did the voices and faces of each character she loved and watched age without being documented on a page; every memory of travel that filled only a quarter of a dusty journal, abandoned by a shaky, ink-stained hand and loss of motivation.

She had been the woman, once a girl, to spend all her money on travel, in order to better shape the worlds in her head; the girl who failed mathematics and science due to spacing out, doodling the many faces of her characters; the woman who broke up with lovers to free herself from long-lasting commitments of motherhood, what she feared would steal her attention away from her dream.

Her dream…

What dream? What dream could she have desired to the extent of destroying all her worth as an otherwise functioning being?

Wandering through her decrepit house of books never read, ancient and long-spent checks, binders of photos and cards and scribbled story-ideas, she found the cracked mirror in the back of her the home, and starred, again, into her old eyes, blackened by grief.

“All I am is your slave. A slave to fake worlds and fake people. A slave to the monotony of writing!”

The mirror flew itself from her fingers effortlessly, a pin drop echoed through the halls before a shower of glass scattered onto the floor, shaking the house like an earthquake. Her voice stifled out from her throat as she screamed mute, each wrinkle in her face elongated to madness, with red cheeks burning hot from salty tears. Sorrow bled out every pour, startling her heart and summoning a wide grin. Bearing teeth, her red shot eyes pierced open, and she laughed, letting the tears drip off her chin with drool. She laughed, and gasped for air, and howled cries, enjoying every moment of it.

Only writing could jolt her heart awake, remind her that she is of the living; only writing could give her heart fear and excitement all through the process of tears and loneliness; all to create an eternal product. A story.

Her breaths struggled to fuel her tired body, and she collapsed, numb to the shards of glass pinching into her palms, knees, and legs. Maroon delicately painted the wooden floors, and she silently watched it stain more glass. She knew that she needed paper and a pen. Or just paper. A pen was unnecessary as long as she had parchment to stain with her blood. She attempted to rise and throw herself across the halls, but only stumbled, knocking down towers of books as her feet flung into them. One page… one was all that the writer needed, to tell her last story, and that would be the dying moment to make her happy.

* * *

They all came running upon the cries of the child, pushing each other in a stampede, thumbing their feet hard against the wooden steps.

“Are you okay?” Mother spoke first, without loss of breath, kneeling down to caress her daughter’s head and check for injuries or tears, both appearing absent.

“Yeah, but the ghost came back…” Mickey pointed a stubby finger towards a trio of fallen book towers. Both Wes and Father began stacking the books up again.

“Wha’ happen’?” Cael came wandering out of the hallway, a lollipop puffing his right cheek out and obscuring his speech, “Dih Mickey knock ‘uff down again?”

Mother looked from Cael to Mickey before her eyes settled towards the ground with a sigh, “I don’t know, but help your father start setting up the bookcase.”

The family dismembered into two groups; Father and Cael began unpacking the new bookcase while Mother and Wes moved books around. Watching their reflections work, Mickey starred at the many copies of their moving bodies, through the mirror of cracks nobody else ever noticed. Unlike each time before, she no longer saw the old women, and hoped that she found what she had been looking for in their haunted little house.

And then she smiled, wondering how she might tell the tale of that woman someday.


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