The Person and the Mirror

Everyday he stood before the mirror, staring into it intently.

Some day, he thought to himself, he’d find it.

What it was meant to be was anyone’s guess.

He stood in front of mirrors in the privacy of his house- or so we guess based on his behaviour elsewhere. He was observable when he stared into the mirrors at the office, restaurants, public swimming pools, hotel rooms, other people’s houses. Everywhere. Some people thought he was a narcissist. But he wasn’t so. In every other way, he was normal. Whatever that means.

Maybe we’re less normal in the privacy of our homes. Or maybe we’re more abnormal.

He would stare at the mirror’s reflection, almost waiting for it to speak.

At work he spent his breaks in front of the mirror, his colleagues have affirmed.

At restaurants, he’d disappear to stare at the mirror in the middle of dates. Certainly odd behaviour, but not worrying. Not yet.

On one particular date, the person excused himself from what he thought was a rather insipid soup and an equally insipid soliloquy and went to stare at the mirror in the restroom. The lady found it strange that her date hadn’t returned in thirty whole minutes and thought he’d escaped through a window in the restroom. In a way, he had. When she pushed her way through the door to the unisex restroom, there he was, stood in front of his own reflection with a transfixed look in his eyes. He was leaning into the mirror. He was… muttering to himself rapidly. He sounded excited about something. She was about to walk away quietly and at that moment he apologised to her and said he almost found it. All of this without taking his eyes off the mirror.

Ever since that day, he changed. He no longer actively sought out the mirror. He’d briefly glance into it and then immediately drop his eyes to the floor before walking away.

The most noticeable change was when the same lady from the date had agreed to meet with him in a hotel room and he spoke about his obsession with mirrors.

It began when he was a kid, he said. He saw in the mirror’s reflection as he prepared himself to go out to meet some friends. His reflection was almost exact. Except, there was something wrong, a glitch, he said. The hand that swept his hair in the mirror was the same as his but with a tattoo on it. A tattoo he never bore. But he’d never seen that in the many years since. And it was many.

Did he find it now, she asked.

No, he said. But he found something similar.

What was it, could he tell?

He offered to show her, instead.

She hesitantly agreed and walked with him up to the mirror in their room. He stood in front and stared at the reflection in his usual way. Then, he locked eyes with the reflection of him. He then lifted his left arm up to the mirror, making it parallel to it, almost, fist clenched at the top. That’s when he told her to look at the mirror, too.

She looked at the reflection and gasped. It was something she’d never expected to see.

On his forearm in the mirror’s reflection was a tattoo. It was aflame in the reflection, just that patch of his forearm. That was marvellous enough but not what made her gasp.

An hourglass.

The sand was nearly out from the top half.

The tattooed hand from within tried to reach out for him. He stepped closer towards the hand and the mirror but the lady pulled him away from the mirror and had a vacant look in his eyes for a second as he looked back at her eyes.

Was it the same before, she asked. When he first saw it and then that day at the restaurant.

Yes, he said. It was the same. Only much brighter than the first time.

They then walked back to bed together and lay down, side by side.

What did it mean, she asked him. Why did he share this with her.

He wanted to show or tell somebody, he said. She seemed an understanding.

What did it mean, she asked him again.

He didn’t have an answer.

They fell asleep.

The next morning, he kissed her on the forehead on his way out of the room.

She never heard from him again.

No one did.

It’s almost like he vanished into the mirror.

Or perhaps something pulled him in. But only one person thought that.

  • Tristan Seaburg-Sweat

    Im sorry I just couldn’t get into this, it’s like I got excited about what could happen then I got lost, not really grasping the obsession he had