It’s supposed to rain until Thursday. You’d think talking about feelings would be easier in the rain.
I sat on the bus today trying to see my reflection in the fogged windows. I couldn’t find it. I couldn’t find it on the subway either. Walking along the car all I could catch were glimpses of my hair, unrecognizable from the mist outside. I got to the door of my house. The mosaic of glass skewed my face into some grotesque cubist portrait. Inside I took off my backpack. I took off my boots. My coat. My scarf. I took the pins out of my hair and twined it into a knot.
I’m in the bathroom now. I’ve closed the door. I can hear that my mom is on hold upstairs. Elevator music is floating down from her office. The phone must be on speaker. I’m standing in front of the mirror; reflections can’t hide from mirrors.
“Alie, I’m sad.”
“I feel like I love her, but I don’t even know what love is.”
There I am. Was I so pale this morning?
“I don’t even know what I fucking know.”
My phone has been buzzing. I read the texts but I can’t bring myself to answer them yet. Do I look like this to you? I wonder if you can picture my face in your head. I doubt it.
I pick up the phone and type my response automatically; all I have to offer are platitudes.
“I’m sorry that you have to feel like this.”
When did I become this thing? I could have sworn everything used to make more sense.
No response. I stare at the phone’s glaring screen waiting.
I wonder if they’re right. Maybe I am an extra – a two-dimensional character. The girl standing in the rain during a fire alarm with her laptop clutched to her chest. She stands there begging for your pity. Shivering not from cold, but from what you insightfully perceive as a pathetic lack of love in her life. That’s all I am, wouldn’t you agree?
My phone buzzes: a response.
I agree, “Yup.”
Have you ever noticed that if you get close enough to a mirror it feels like you’re looking at someone else? I am nose to nose with a stranger-me.
“I didn’t see you much today.”
I don’t answer. I didn’t see me much today either.
Another buzz. Someone new.
“What the hell are you doing?”
I don’t know. I have no idea. I respond to this one anyway though because maybe she knows what I should be doing. Or maybe she’ll make something up. Either way is fine.
Her answer: “Just talk to him.”
I’m disappointed; even I could have come up with that. The advice is generic, but I guess it could have some merit. Or it would if I ever had anything to say.
My phone is quiet now. I move my face away from the mirror, but stranger-me remains. Could I have what I want? Do I even want what I could have?
I wonder if I place my nose to the glass again will the other me come back? The familiar me? I don’t bother.