The Mirror Crack’d.
You wake up one morning to a world without mirrors. How does your life — from your everyday routines to your perception of yourself — change?
If there were no mirrors I would no longer have to see my mother reflected in my face.
I used to think I took after my dad’s end of the gene pool. That’s where I got the red highlights in my hair. But age has brought my mother’s features into focus. Our facial structure, our eye shape is sadly similar. The older I get, the more I look like her.
Our features are similar, but her face had a mean look to it. That’s not just my perception, familiar as I am with her sharp edges. My friend saw it too. When Peg first saw a photo of my mom she said, “She looks evil.” Peg didn’t know that much about my mom; she’s just very perceptive.
Mom’s dishwater-blonde hair was usually hidden in twists crisscrossed with bobby-pins that poked me when I got too close. It looked like it would hurt, the way she sectioned off her head with a rat-tail comb and pushed those bobby-pins across her scalp. But her head was hard; calloused maybe, from all that friction.
“What happened to your hair?” she asked when I started wearing it short.
“I got it cut. What happened to yours?” I answered, surprised at what had just come out of my mouth. I saw her flinch. She was in no position to be critiquing hair-dos. Her hair looked like dead grass with bangs.
If there were no mirrors I would check my reflection in windows or kettles or birdbaths to make sure that my bangs were not hanging straight across the brow, the way she wore them. That’s when I see her the most, when my bangs are straight across or when I’m scowling or mad.
In a world without mirrors, I would still remind myself daily to smile. I look least like her when I’m smiling.