Standing back from the floating dust, the light is white with violet tones and directed at the mirror in a way so anti-vanity it would make any other mirror weep but this mirror is decidedly broken.
If you look in the mirror and you hate what you see blame the mirror blame the light blame your mother for teaching you to come here for reflection.
I used to visit Florida every December with my family. My father has relatives there and when I was a kid, we would go live in a house for three weeks, on a golf course, sheltered by crickets and geriatrics and heat.
When I was very young I would stay in a room with both my brothers. We’d all sleep in the same bed.
Eventually, maybe around age 10, 11, I graduated to another room.
A couch, it folds out, it’s white with strange pastel patterns of swirls and confetti, if 1987 was a fabric, this was it. Every night I fold out the couch and lie, choked into this small space, inches away from the window, terrified of the outside Florida what’s out there I don’t know I’m Canadian and I miss the winter, I only come here because my father loves to golf and maybe he loves his relatives but really what am I doing here other than staring out a window every night, watching the sticker that says “THIS HOUSE IS ARMED” and wondering if I’ll eventually see the face of a crook who is carefully reading the label and deciding that it just can’t be true.
I will be kidnapped.
I face the other direction.
I change the orientation of my body. There’s a large television. I can see myself in the television.
Boxed into black nothing entertainment, I turn my back on the TV.
I stare at the door.
It becomes morning, time to fold the bed into the couch.
I lift the metal mess, it creaks, I drop it.
Has everyone heard me reflecting.
I am awake before everyone. I don’t sleep well. I am bring groomed for an adult life of chronic insomnia and accompanying neck pain. I stare at my door in the morning and wonder, can I make it to the kitchen to steal some oreos without anyone knowing, it is 5 AM and I would love chocolate grit I would love cream paste I would love sugar.
I stare at my door. I see myself in the stained wood.
I am stiff, I am manipulated, I am stuck.
The closest mirror is down the hall. My brothers sleep right next to the bathroom. If they hear me, they’ll want to know “what’s wrong”.
I hate being asked “what’s wrong” when nothing is wrong. It makes me feel like a stranger.
You don’t know how lucky you are. To have the confidence to reflect at your own image while the sticker over my image says THIS HOUSE IS ARMED and all I can see, even though it’s never there, is someone who is willing to hurt me just to come in.
Turn your back.
Turn your back on the outside heat, the crickets, the green. Turn your back on dark shining laughter, boxed into systematic clapping and swaying, the kind that turns on when you tell it to, the kind called Shows.
Sometimes the best way to see yourself is to turn your back on an unfavourable reflection, think about it while your back is turned, wake up and look again.
I promise you things will change. Goodnight.