Vaishnavi Tyagi

He stared at the short mirror and didn’t see himself. You wouldn’t realize how fleetingly we take the moment we are able to recognize ourselves, but he has wasted so much precious time staring at something which he could just describe as a void. It is the very despair of his being, what he sees and what he wants to see are worlds apart. The full body length mirror was placed at an awkward angle beside a rustic dresser, covered with a thick white cloth infiltrated by a huge stain of strawberry flavored Gatorade. He was not proud of how it had happened because who exactly could have anticipated how a two minutes plank could be a pain in the ass, literally and figuratively. For someone who was the epitome of self deprecation, he should have. It feels like even the nature reciprocates his feelings today. The sky is gloomy with a personal vendetta against the sun and God seems to be arranging last minute props for the theatrical adaptation of Genesis flood narrative. He hears the balcony door slam shut and comes out of his reverie. The wind was picking up and his feet realized faster than his brain that he has clothes drying out in the balcony. He collects them all and after having shut the balcony door, starts spreading them on whatever surfaces are bare ending with his powder blue shirt on the long mirror.

It is said mirrors should be covered so as to not allow negative energy to enter from a parallel world but he covers it to block the hostility emanating from his heart. He stares at its outline, wondering if he dares to take a peek today whether it would be different. Or if it would leave him with the bitter taste in his mouth as it has for so long. He knows the answer and usually he would rather not allow the same old disappointment to fill every cell of his being but not today. Right now he wants nothing more to do than to snatch that white cloth, maybe even rip it apart for his satisfaction and break the mirror into shards, not allowing it any more of its sadistic pleasure. He takes a few steps forward and stretches his hand out to yank the cloth only to pull off his drying shirt instead. A blue stain has now established its territory on the white cloth sitting proudly beside the pink. Somehow it doesn’t feel unwelcomed if anything it screams predestined. As if this moment demanded to be dedicated to epiphany. He stared at those stains somehow inches apart but merging in way that would make sense only to heavenly creatures. The most exquisite scenery that nobody would pay even a dollar for but he would happily spend his last vision on. It is a sign, in this theatre of God, he is the lead today and at this very moment he is supposed to gasp with eyes open wide to see everything coming together. Push his droopy shoulders into a confident posture and be born with rejuvenated mind over recognizing something the audience will argue is a lousy turn of events. His clock chimed signaling it was already 5 pm and his roommate, Fiona, would be home soon. He waits for the feeling of urgency and fright to soon follow the revelation that he would need to retreat into his shell and bring out someone whose acting skills are on par with Picassos’ self portraits, unpleasing to the outer eye as the reality starts setting in, but it didn’t. It seems like he has no vitality to put a veil on his existence. The rain now pattered in a way he could only describe as opening chords to a magnificent composition. He smiles hesitatingly and then so widely it was almost a laugh. His lungs feel full of air. The strength that seemed so within layers of his skin is now exposed like a nerve. He saunters to his wardrobe and sees a peek of colors in the dark. He moves his shirts aside allowing full light to fall on his hidden treasure. The dresses gleam through their sequins and light material like a bright greeting to him. He delicately allows his fingers to run through them and finally, with the patience of a man diffusing a bomb, pulls a light gray dress and put it alongside his shirts less like a garment more like a timeless masterpiece. Although he has climbed stairs in the dark, this would be his first step in light and he has to take it one by one. He was cautious, excited, nervous and honestly a bit curious as to how complex our brain has to be to handle so many varying emotions at once. He hears somebody struggling with the lock and realizes with a start that Fiona is here. It was quite old hence takes a few tries but he feels nothing but gratitude towards his inept house utility. This is the edge of a cliff for him but in the same manner as it was for the early man. It is not an end in its entire sense but of constraining familiarity and beginning of new prospects, a whole new world. He will enter into this world to explore, to analyze, to accept, to learn and to live. It begins with Fiona turning the lock. It begins with his personal belongings lying abashedly around him. It begins now with Fiona entering his room, his sanctuary with questions he is prepared to share answers to. He is ready to be himself in this world and demand them to love him as such, respect him as such and accept him as such. At last, through all the lies and pain, she is ready.

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