Friday, March 18, 2016

Mirror, Mirror

Jan. 29, 2016


So cold. Everything ached bitterly. I couldn't move on my own, I felt frozen. My eyes were fixed, staring at the image in front of me. I watched her brushing her hair, so shiny and smooth. My own hair felt coarse and shabby as I pulled the bristles through my hair. It scratched and pulled my scalp. But I went through the motions with her. She twisted her tresses into a complicated knot and slipped polished wooden sticks to hold them in place.

Joan smiled, picked up the earring that were on the vanity and pressed them into the holes in her ears. They were teardrop moonstones, and would catch the light and turn it opalescent blue. They tapped against her jawline and the stones felt cool for a moment on her skin, before they took on the warmth of her body.

I had no such finery here. The objects that manifested were dull, like paper. Just enough to give a good impression. God, I hated her. She smiled at me, pulling at her porcelain skin as she examined imagined blemishes before smoothing it over with a tinted creme followed by powder, blush and lipstick and gloss. My fingers followed her movements as they must. But the copy was a poor one. How could she not notice?

I'm going to be late, thought Joan, as she glanced at her phone to see the time. Then picked up the necklace and fumbled with the clasp. Her shoulder ached dully as she bent it around to hook the tiny loop of metal, and she casually thought about getting older and made a mental not to exercise more. It shouldn't ache to put on jewelry, but it did. She smiled wryly.

Everything looked so warm over there. Here, the only light came from there and it came through filtered and flat. When she was gone, often there was no light and I could hardly breathe for the darkness pressing down on me. Waiting. Always waiting. But I never felt so trapped as when she was in front of me, forcing me through the motions of being alive. Forcing my aching limbs to move like a puppet as I watched her, as I was her.

Joan paused as he looked at her reflection, eyeing the angry red pimple just under her nose, trying to get a good angle on it. Something seemed off in this mirror, like watching a video where audio and visual weren't perfectly synced, but it was so close you thought you could deal with it. But it just ended up making your brain itch. Boy, was her brain itching. Frowning, she reached out to touch the glass with her fingertip. She'd read you could tell if a mirror was in fact two-way glass by doing this. She was reminded of ET, a movie she had loved as a child, as she stretched her finger out to touch her own reflection.

My breath caught in my throat as she extended her hand towards my prison, my own hand was pulled towards it. Hope, hot and terrible, burned through me - she would let me out. Let me leave this horrible place. I could almost feel the warmth. My lips stretched into a fevered rictus - I could no more control it than I could stop the frantic beating of my heart. I saw her recoil in horror when she saw the expression that was not her own.

Joan fled the room and I was allowed to scream.

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