Creative Non-fiction: The Mirror

It arrives again in its silent and furious way.

You never notice it at first. But then in a quiet moment you feel it, sore teeth clenched down. A strip of stress the width of your back. A compulsion to crack a neck that’s already gotten its fair share of cracking. You mightn’t notice the colours of the leaves falling on a day like that. You definitely wouldn’t hear the words being said to you while you are far away worrying about that thing that’s the cause of it all.

Distracted. Is that what you are? Some may think that, but most won’t even notice. You learn to hate silence and fill it up with anything at all when you’re alone.

It doesn’t ever feel like sadness at first.

It’s like sitting below a mirror that’s on the ceiling. When you look up at a mirror you don’t catch your own reflection at first. You’ll see different parts of the room, and the furniture, and the way your wardrobe looks from above, and how small your bed seems, and how many pointless trinkets there are everywhere, but you won’t see yourself. It’s odd to look into something where you expect to see yourself and find nothing.

That’s what this feeling is. You expect to find yourself in the reflection but you can’t. You, the one you know at least, is sinking below the surface. You can barely hear it, the screaming, below the ice, beyond the mirror.

It’s only later when the fog lifts, when the mirror clears up that you can see yourself again, eyes trained on your own. It’s only then that you really know you’ve been missing. How long were you gone this time around? It’s impossible to say.

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