Friday, 14 November 2008
Through an old mirror in the hall I saw a strange corridor.
It looked out upon strange vistas, cloistered chambers and amnesiac subways. I rubbed my eyes and was amazed to see the visions change each time I looked again.
Checking over my shoulder I looked around at the people shuffling by. It was midweek and I was in a grey museum. I was incredulous that they didn’t stop to wonder at the mirror, showing such strange and wonderful places; hidden spaces of the Earth.
‘No matter,’ I thought. ‘Let them walk on; passing by without thought or care for this miraculous mirror on the world.’
It never occurred to me, until much later, that perhaps when they looked, they just saw a mirror. Maybe it was stranger that none stopped to wonder why a man such as me should wish to stand there, peering deeply into the glass of a seven-foot mirror.
But even miraculous phenomena such as these grow tiresome to the short attention span of a man. I soon realised that each wonderful place I saw was empty; devoid of humanity. And then I came to realise that each of these, at first strange and wondrous, places were actually locations I had visited, even frequented, somewhere in my life.
Once they thronged with life and I, young and carefree, frolicked in them. They were my playgrounds and my courting haunts, my workplaces and my bed chambers; but not one single ghost was seen to reside there. Everything of living flesh had been removed from my mirrors and, as I realised this and span around, I felt the blood trickle from my face and I crashed to the floor in a feint, under cover of thick darkness.
When I came to and all the damn people stopped crowding around and let me breathe, I returned home and took to my bed for three days. I was lost inside dreams, some waking, some fever-cold, and haunted myself like this without water or food. And in all my dreams I walked inside the mirror’s scenes and tried desperately to revive the memories of the people who once had walked there with me.
And at the culmination of those three drenching days, tossing and clawing the bed sheets, I woke with my ears filled with awful tears.
“They’ve all gone,” I sobbed. “They’ve all left me.” And I cried there for hours more. You see, the people of my memories had all left me, so long ago, that they had even left my dreams. And that, friend, is the most punishing mirror of all, to make yourself stare into.