Mirror Mirror on the Wall

“Grudges are the mudslides of the emotional world. They are
nothing but filth not taken care of and allowed to gather momentum under the
necessary conditions.”

Shutting off the taps after a perfect shower
has the same effect as bringing a perfect dream to an end, and even though
there is a measure of control in turning off the shower, there is still a
jarring feeling that one gets as the mind travels from the comfort of the warm
wet world to the dry misty one. And as one’s mind slowly registers that the
warmth created by the water has stopped, one is often surrounded by a cloud of
steam that adds to that dreamy effect, that between worlds feeling that one has
to deal with. There is something special about showers that allows one’s mind
to wonder far off or even switch off and think of absolutely nothing while the
entire body receives a gratifyingly numbing message that further puts one
beyond this world.

The steamy mist created by the shower settles
on everything in the room and when the water suddenly goes off it is as if one
registers this for the first time in the same way that one registers the world
after coming up from under water. Everything that is normally taken for granted
suddenly takes on an exaggerated quality as if one is seeing it for the first
time –  in the same way that strangers’
faces always seem bigger than they really are at first meetings. For me one of the
most disturbing things that always manages to jar me whenever I step out of the
fantasy of the shower is looking into a mirror that is still covered in steamy
mist. The mist is often so thick that it has condensed on the mirror’s surface
causing it to perspire and yet at the same time the mist seems to be reflected
in the mirror. This creates an effect of movement and for a while I will always
be stuck staring into the mirror trying to decide what I am looking at.

The mirror itself seems alive like a wild
predator of the botanical type, like a Venus Fly Trap, waiting, calculating and
glaring through eyes that one cannot see. The cool perspiration gives it that
quality that says I am not what I appear to be and the closer you get to me the
more likely you will lose something you are not ready to lose. The more I look
the more I feel stripped of something, something that would be some sort of
protection against what, I really don’t know. My mind is temporarily confused
by the fact that I am looking into a mirror with a certain expectation and yet
I see nothing, nothing that I expect to see anyway. When I look into a mirror I
expect to see a reflection of myself but when I look into a mirror after a hot
shower I do not see myself, I see white shadows dancing in the way only
phantoms dance and I see impossibility.

For a split second this effect makes me
wonder if I am alive if I am not in fact a phantom myself that has moved on to
another realm. Perhaps the I have fallen prey to the mirror itself and it has
struck before I have even had the chance to realise that I am the hunted, that
I am vulnerable too to something much higher on the food chain. I look but I
see nothing except my own ideas that try explain what is happening and still I
am not comforted. It is my vanity or perhaps terror – if the two were ever
separate – that makes me swipe at the mirror with my towel in order to restore
the world to some sort of normality, some sort of comprehension. My panic is
almost increased when the  mirror isn’t
wiped clean by my first swipe. So I strike out again this time with more
vehemence like the kicks of a whipped dying horse. Then I see it.

My reflection appears from far away through a
haziness but there is no denying that it is there. It is as if I am cutting
through a thicket of white shadows to come to my own rescue while at the same
time fighting hard for survival, and the fighter rescuer in me meets the
fearful victim at the lips of the mirror, where the two worlds collide in
nonsensical certainty. I wipe the mirror clean to convince myself that I am
really in the room and it is strange that I need to look deep into the mirror,
to a world that is reflected and grossly contrasted, to convince myself that I
am alive, I am here and I am together. I have to stare a little longer and I
wonder now is I am satisfying my vanity or my fear when I look for this long. I
do not think it has much to do with vanity but more with making sure that I am
there that I am in one piece, like I was before I went into the underworld of
the shower state, that dream land, that place where it was safe to wander from
the grasps of reality…

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