Reflecting On the Past
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I have a fear of mirrors; I'm afraid my reflection will come out and try to kill me. So I did what any sane person would do and I duct-taped cardboard to the bathroom mirror. Now I won't have to look over my shoulder every second I spend in there. Several bad shaves and bloodied faces later, I decided that the best I could do was get a hand mirror from Walmart.

I'm standing in my bathroom and staring at the tiny man in the mirror. He's got a strained smile on his face; it's not so bad with a mirror this small. It's got a pretty nice frame to it; a smooth wood. I begin my shave and bring the mirror closer to get a better look at my uneven peach fuzz.

I damn near drop the thing when I see a significantly younger, drastically more pimpled face grin at me.

What…the fuck?

The scene spins around like a movie and the younger version of me sits down with a very tan friend with oily black hair. They're cramped up together behind a messy glass table, laughing at Minecraft.

John.

A little twinge of longing knots itself in my chest. I put the mirror in the drawer, slam it shut. I'm not gonna question why or how, but I will say this: nostalgia is a waste of time.


Work is tiring as ever. I get done sometime around nine in the morning (don't ever be a package handler) and drive past kids and teens at the bus stop. After last night's self-reflection, I really don't need this right now.

I can't help but stare at two adolescent teens, a boy and a girl, as they hop a fence. I did that once when I was their age.


I've ruminated on this all day, but now I decide—against my better judgment—to drive down to my old house and…reminisce, I guess. The road is empty this time of night; a large amount of barely visible grass whizzes by me underneath a canopy of darkness.

I drive past the Burger King where my parents used to take me to and I allow myself a smile. I look left and see the road where a childhood friend and I walked home together after we saw off a mutual compatriot of ours.

And I have to resist the urge to slam the brakes when I see us walking there, right in front of me. There she is, so white, she's practically bio-luminescent, and there I am, always tall and towering over nearly everyone I ever befriended.

I'm not even gonna bother with her name. I'm too embarassed.

Glaring streetlight blinds me for half a second and they are—we are gone. The knot grows tighter as I drive closer to my old home. When I arrive and see its hideous piss-yellow walls, I half-expect to see my dad's old silver car…what was it again? Camry? Corolla?

Instead, I see an empty living room devoid of laughter, devoid of Playstation 3 controllers and Wii remotes and devoid of weed smoke and Nazi Zombies. Back in my day, indeed.

As I drive away slowly, I feel the urge to visit another house right down the block. I know I shouldn't, but I do so. I look to the dark windows, half-expecting to see John coming out to greet me. Instead, I see a reflection of the old tire swing that I used to stand on, like a dumbass.

I gawk at the sunlight beaming off of the black window and at the reflection of my younger self laughing with the young man right below him. My younger self is clutching a Playstation Portable tightly in his hands. God, I miss that thing.

You know what I miss more? John. I miss you, John. I never knew I would. I never knew I did. If only you could see my pathetic self-pitying tears. Few things can even come close to how happy you made me. I'm sorry I'm heterosexual and could never reciprocate what you felt. If only you knew how much you meant to me. Thank you for forgiving me for punching you in the back. Thank you for being there for me when I cried on your shoulder. I wish I could see how you were doing now.

Do you remember the times we'd play Minecraft together? Play Nazi Zombies together? Go on walks together? Remember the time I jumped into a dried-up lake and sank ankle deep into clay? Then your mom cleaned my shoes for me and I walked home later that night with cold water seeping into my socks? My feet itched like hell when I got home.

Fuck it. I'm already here. I might as well go to Emily's house. Well, apartment, whatever. I don't know what's happening, but I'm already here, so I might as well kill three stones with half a bird.


I pull up to Emily's apartment complex and stop. I…can't go up there. I threw her away once and she forgave me then. I threw her away a second time and…well…one can only rebuild the same bridge so many times before the ashes become useless. Or before one runs out of trees.

No. I need to get closer. I park somewhere far away and run up the stairs to her door with the glass in front. I look to the side window and feel a cold wind blow from somewhere.

It's the mirror. It's that god damn mirror.

I hear laughter behind me and I turn around. Nothing. I facepalm, turn around and look to the front door again. It's us. Us, sitting on the bottom of the stairs, sharing a joint and looking at…memes or something, I don't know. This reminds me of the times everybody automatically assumed we were an item. Heh. As if.

The reflection changes to Emily's old house and she's telling me about her life. This was when I first realized what it meant to have a bleeding heart. I move to hug her and I whisper the greatest lie anybody could ever whisper.

"I'll never leave you."

The current Emily must have heard my whimpers or saw my outline standing in front of her opaque glass door or, something, I don't know, because I hear the door unlock and I bolt.

I can't face her now. I. Fucking. Can't.

I rush to my car and sit the fuck down and feel something under my ass. When I feel my fingers wrap around cool, smooth wood, I grit my teeth to stop myself from screaming.

I toss it out the window and speed home. Fuck the cop who gave me a ticket. It was worth it.


I'm lying in bed and listening to Sunset Lullaby by City Girl. It's a lovely little lo-fi song, soft on the ears and delicate on the soul, though I do have to confess…

Lo-fi saddens me; it fills me with dreams of far-off fantasies of dark, empty city streets decorated with a thousand late night lights bleeding from the windows of establishments that beckons those hand in hand with lifetime lovers.

It's just…something about those first few notes bring back memories of a lifetime I never even lived. I don't get it.

I sit up in bed and pull my knees to my chest. I try not to eye the mirror on my bedside table, but I know he's staring at me. I can feel his gaze.

I sigh and curl up in bed.


Sometime in the night, I awaken to the sound of clicking buttons and retro game sound effects. I shoot up in bed—in my old room—and hear it all coming from the living room. I open the door to my room and—

The bus stop to my old high school. It's dark as shit, reminding me of how much I hated going to school at six in the morning, and the bus will be here at any moment. I look left and see Darbi. Well, that was her old name. Now it's Selen, though now, I want to call her the eager fence-hopper. It's a little jarring seeing her with shaved eyebrows, purple hair and platform boots again, considering she's all preppy white girl now, but it's a welcome sight.

I move towards her and feel everything go white for a moment when my forehead thunks against something that feels like glass. It's cold to the touch. First, I slap it, and then I start banging on it.

And then edges of my past shatter like glass, crumbling away in fractured fragments. I bang on this weird barrier even harder and start shouting at her, but she doesn't notice. The shattering world reaches her and she becomes little airborne shards entering a shattered school bus.

I turn and run down across the streets, speeding right past everything I used to know, running, running, running and I see the corner store erupt into glass dust, then I look to the collapsing sky and I see the hand mirror, now larger than the moon, slowly closing in on me.

I run to my house, the only place I can think of, and I tackle the front door and feel little serrated edges digging into my skin.

There he is, playing Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. He chose Stephen Stills. Of course he did…and there's another friend on the couch, the one who walked home with me.

Heather.

"Never gonna grow up."

"Never gonna leave."

Piece by piece, the furniture starts being carried away by vague, transparent outlines, vanishing after a few steps. More furniture disappears until all that's left is a couch, a television, and a Playstation 3.

The walls of my house shatter slowly, the shards lifting into the air and rising into the hand mirror in the sky, taking everyone and everything with them, including Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Several of them swirl around me in a tornado of glass, cutting into me, drawing my blood, dripping, red, glass, reflections, my wide-eyed gaze.

In one shard, I can see Darbi, passing notes to me in middle school, god, where did the years go?

In another, I'm walking down the aisle of a school bus and John introduces himself to me and shakes my hand. He later told me that he thought I was angry. No John, I wasn't angry, wasn't angry then, and even when I got angry later, it wasn't at you, of course it wasn't, no fucking way, I couldn't…why…why did I treat you this way? Just why?

More glimpses of my teenage years fight for my attention, piercing my flesh and gutting me. Darbi, Heather and I are running away from fireworks, laughing merrily, because we had each other, as we always wou—

Emily, I have no words…I can only say sorry so many times before my words lose all meaning. I think I've already passed that point.

I scream, my eyes burning with tears, and reach for these slivers, watching as they turn into sand cascading upwards between my fingers.

I love you. All of you. Forever.

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