reflection in the mirror

How do we want to be seen?

I challenged myself to look at myself in the mirror. It wasn’t about what I was wearing, or how I looked from the side, or if the black made me look thinner. I looked directly at her, into the eyes that see the world through their lens. The mirror—dusty—when was the last time it got cleaned? I cleaned it with a cloth. Still dusty. Is that me looking back at me? The dust distorts her vision. I cleaned it with an all-natural glass cleaner. The image sharpened, but I’m not sure if I saw myself clearer. She tries taking off her glasses. Perhaps it’s the glare from the extra set of eyes.

Could she soften the muscles between the eyes? Why were they engaged? There is nothing to hid. Were her eyes really that shade of amber? I’m not sure they have ever been amber. They used to be hazel (in her younger years), then a dark brown, but amber? I miss those hazel eyes. Despite her weariness, her eyes are wide. Observing the world with intrigue? She can’t find stillness. Her gaze moves down to her freckles. Are they freckles or sun spots? The hair on her face, removed this afternoon—at least there is nothing to look at there. A recent photo of her, published in the Chronicle on Sunday, pictured her four years younger. I wasn’t sure she looked like that, but photos don’t lie. The fat around her cheeks don’t exist today. She has lost the protection of youth. She tests if her forehead moves—it does. When did that happen? It was after she turned thirty. I remember that day. I was oddly excited. Her skin, gradually losing its elasticity. Aging, it’s real. Perhaps I’m the only person excited to age. Maybe her acquaintances will stop calling her ‘little one’ or ‘munchkin.’ (Her height matches the average height of the average adult American female. Shocking. Aren’t Asian people shorter in general?) Neither words are adequate descriptions of her. I digress. When will my eyes get crow’s feet, she wonders. She laughs a lot now, surely the feet will ground themselves into her skin.

The mirror, clean for tomorrow’s study. I shouldn’t wait that long between cleaning.

See you Sunday.

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