My bathroom has this huge mirror that spans across the wall over the double vanity. It reflects too much of what I don’t want to see. There are marks on my face that were absent a few years ago. My eyes aren’t as bright anymore. My smile has somehow managed to curve downwards more while I wasn’t looking. The hairs on my head had been turning white here and there. My face has somehow transgressed and lost its dewy youthfulness that just yesterday was there. Somehow or other, my lips had thinned. I once thought I had the lips of a pouty youth. I think I was just pouting then. Where has those robust cheeks gone? And the thick, long eyelashes? They are covered by the thick lenses of my glasses. It’s probably time to get contacts again.
I rub my chin and note that if I bend my head down, jowls had formed beneath them. Too much high living, I dare to justify. My penchant for sushi and kalbi rests their memories there. The unkempt eyebrows somehow cajole me into fixing them with my fingers and nails. And my nose have been deformed by the bridge of glasses worn too long.
It gets worse when I am sick. The haggard, bedraggled stranger staring at me glares, blaming me for our current predicament. It was my fault. I had somehow picked up something that had us rushing to the sink to cough out phlegm. Too weak to talk back, I return glare for glare, through rheumy eyes. What fault is it of mine when that one is stuck to that side of the mirror and I am not? There are pimples on my nose from blowing too many times on tissues that are scattered near the bed where the small garbage can is. I feel them. They have made my nose redder still. The fever makes my reflection that much more pallid, unable to tell if I am one of the living or one of the dead.
There are days I approve of this mirror. When the person looking back seems more elegant than yesterday. With curly hair framing the rounded shape of my face, it looks smaller. Though I long for shorter hair, my face screams “No!” When I have just woken, my eyes take on the exoticness of fairy eyes, upturned and slightly bulging. After a session of kissing, the fullness of my lips return and the redness makes it that much more wanton. The lust reflected in my eyes make us more excited to confront the coming evening. Teasing you as we do our daily routines reflects our happiness here. And sometimes, I think I see those happy memories embedded in the glass, etched in the foggy concoction of glass cleaner I use to clean it. The hot showers we take in the cold winter months fog up this cold glass and lend ethereal effects to our reflections. You and I are almost angelic.
But with a sigh, this mirror also reflects the arguments you and I have had. It is scarred into its surface those angry words and sinister eyes it has reflected for years. It reflects the neglect of its countertop with the myriad concoctions of beauty notions you and I have collected. Some were meant for your seduction and some for mine. Piles of letters unanswered and unnoticed has accumulated attesting to our busy lives. I have since removed the junk mail to the recycle bin. Or was it you? Keys on chains and scattered change reflect the prisons we have built around us and our chosen shackles. This house, too, where this mirror resides is nothing but a cage. I am reflected there, in this prison.
Someday, I hope to break free from this reflected drudgery. But I doubt it will be so. We seem to trade one shackle for another. Our freedom exists only on some ideal plane. Perhaps that other in the mirror is the one who is free and only comes to make mockery of me. Perhaps I am the one trapped in this side of the mirror and not that one. For today, it is enough to clean its reflective glass. Perhaps if I chant incantations in front of it, it will show me new worlds. And one day, I may figure out a way to step into them and explore this newfound freedom.


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