She had noticed her for a while now. After so many years, having known her all her life, she stopped and noticed her reflection. It started on an autumnal day. She was on her way to a date. A thought crept into her head as she peered into the glass to check for a stray red line across her teeth. What a sad existence the face staring back at her in the glass must lead. Immediately, there followed a mental counter of how absurd the thought was and she hurried on to the park where her date stood waiting.
Eventful and not-so-eventful months passed and she began to notice her reflection more and more. Brushing her teeth in the morning, fixing her hair before work, leaning in to read an article in the shadowed monitor of a computer. A sort of pity took a hold on her as she found herself surrounded by a tragic figure whose existence was mute, stunted and seemingly taken for granted. The sort of pity developed into guilt, as her hyaline landscapes transformed into a brooding otherworld. A brewing resentment clung to every glazed surface she turned to – in car doors, shop windows, changing rooms, public toilets, television screens, swimming pools, steel cutlery. These slick planes became charged with the angst of a woman fated only to act out the motions of life without ever living it. She found herself trying to avoid her own eye contact, each glance a cruel confirmation of the other’s limitations. She started walking instead of taking public transport so that she wouldn’t catch the ominous double lurking over her shoulder in the window and she would take increasingly rural routes back home to escape the polished architecture of the cityscape. Everywhere she looked, she was returned with the jealous gaze of a lifeless woman.
Soon enough, she carried her own resentment towards the figure that stretched across these glacial shapes and came to desire her existence. Easy, blameless, inconsequential. Her hardships now seemed miraculously light in comparison to the weighted burdens of the corporeal world. What worries did she have and who did she have to answer to? She didn’t have to pay tax, didn’t have to check for lumps, didn’t have to grieve. It was all too easy. The woman who had once thought her reflection to be jealous of herself now found herself jealous of her reflection. A new mirror had formed. Like minerals, these thoughts grew and expanded, crystallising into one lucent conclusion. An exchange had to be made.
It was now deep into winter, almost spring, and she stood before a frozen lake. She crouched down low, making out the silver outline of her reflection in the ice. It looked just like black marble. She inhaled deeply and saw her breath pour out of her mouth and nostrils in a frosted shroud. She saw it skirt across the solid water to meet her reflection’s silent exhalation. She huddled closer to her, laying flat out across the ice, arms wide open, eyes locked in an intimate gaze of a woman she was soon to imitate. And then, she crossed the mirror.