Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mirrors

I saw myself this morning. After weeks, in the sidewalk, shards of mirror, broken, here and there scattered, my image in each, beneath the surface, growing larger as I approach, under my feet, small, gone as I pass. Or so I presume. Perhaps each watched as I walked on. Perhaps each wondered, separately, who I was. It would not surprise me.

Looking down, I was startled to see myself looking up from the ground. I have passed mirrors on occasion, noticed the face, thought, quickly, not bad, realized the face was my own, regretted the thought. Wondered how it could happen, what would have caused such as mistake. To not recognize myself is bad enough but to think I actually looked decent, better than decent, is what I have the problem with. And to think so only when I do not know it’s me. Yes, there is something sad about this. You don’t have to tell me.

It has been some weeks since I have looked in a mirror. Weeks. I approach the ones in the bathroom and, as I get close enough to see, my eyes close before I realize I have closed them. I needn’t see to comb my hair, to shave. I don’t even turn the lights on. No need. I know where everything is, I don’t have my glasses on, nothing to see here.

If I must look, I find myself standing aside. Aside from my own self. I have somehow learned to position myself so my hair is visible in the full-length mirror, but nothing else. Often it seems to have been combed while I am laying on an incline. I don’t care. Really. I’ll comb it later.

“Why do you do that?” My wife asks me this all the time. I scrunch close up to the mirror, eyes closed. If you could not see my closed eyes in the reflection it might appear I was nearsighted. I can’t answer her question. I don’t know.

Tomorrow I will not look down as I walk.

2 comments:

Craig said...

I think it's interesting that your first sight of you, looking up from the ground, is in shards. Fragments. A Picasso painting. Shards of light ready for the work of Tikkun Olam.

I'm also reminded of the tradition of covering all mirrors during periods of mourning. They say it's to discourage vanity, but I think it's more profound. You don't have to look into your own eyes and see the loved one you've lost reflected back in them.

Indigo Bunting said...

At the gym, at the hairdresser's, it's amazing how I can be directly in front of a mirror at all times and never look.