[I’ll leave it here, but it’s shit that needs a whole lot of work or straight up burnt. Enjoy.]
A girl stared back at me from inside the mirror stood at the back of my closet. Black hair, pale skin, naked. I didn’t recognize her despite feeling that I should.
She moved when I moved, though not in the same way and only slightly. Where had my reflection gone? She was not me.
I looked down at my hands and at my body to be sure. A male body, as remembered. My reaction to a dead girl staring back from inside my mirror wasn’t what I thought it would be. I didn’t back away, run, scream, anything.
Dead? How did I know? Apart from skin so pale I could see the blue underneath? She was in my mirror, so… a ghost? Dead.
But what the hell do I know about mirrors? I’ve seen how mirrors are made. That shit is magic in itself.
What did I know about dead girls for that matter? Only that one was standing in my mirror and my veins were like ice water.
Cold, but not alone.
For the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel alone. Only there, standing in her presence, did I realize how alone I’d felt despite not being alone a day in my life.
She was beautiful. Or, as beautiful as a dead girl could be. Which, apparently, was very.
I wanted to speak to her but some deep, dark part of me said no. Said it wouldn’t be a good idea.
She wanted me to speak, I could tell by the way her eyes probed mine, and I wanted to know her name. Then I knew it, her name. It came to me like a whisper and I wanted to repeat it aloud. But I didn’t.
Her delicate fingers traced up along the inside of the mirror before pressing against it, hand to the glass. I started to do the same, to meet her hand with mine.
I stopped. Driven on by that part inside of me, I turned away and left, leaving my closet behind me, heading straight for the front door. When I reached it, I stood there staring at it from the inside.
Already, I felt alone again. That crushing sensation of being alone in the world settled in beside cold fear, and I didn’t know which was greater. My hand hovered near the knob. One quick twist and the door would open for the first time in three days.
The last time it opened—and closed—was the day she left. The “she” being my ex who wasn’t my ex three days prior. No sad story there. Not of mine, at least. She didn’t walk out on me. I told her to leave.
After seven years, I told her to leave. How many of those seven years did I spend trying to say those words?
I don’t know. But the bulk of those seven years, for sure. Infinitely more alone with her than I’d felt the past three days spent in solitude. More alone still than I felt standing in the presence of a dead girl.
I let my hand fall to my side. I couldn’t bring myself to leave. Why? I wasn’t yet ready to face my family. Face failure. And I didn’t know where else to go… anywhere, but… I’d rather be there, with the dead girl in my mirror in my closet, than out there with other people.
I’d felt less alone with her than I’d felt with them. My whole life I spent trying to feel less… whatever I felt… alone… and it had never worked.
So I left the door closed and turned around to face the inside of my house. How much time had passed while I stood like a statue at the door, I don’t know. Light had been spilling through the windows. By that point, the point where I turned around, the house was almost dark.
In the kitchen, where almost everything had been left untouched since she left, everything existed as though time stood frozen and still.
She’d been in the middle of cooking a pot of ramen on the stove top when she called to me. Something pointless, along the lines of, “Have you even noticed I’ve been working out lately?”
I more or less replied, shouting back from my office, “Get out.”
And she did. Not so simple as that, but she did. She’d been taken so by surprise that from the pot to the bowl was the farthest her ramen went. In a bowl where it still sat, and stunk, on the counter three days later.
The only change I bothered to make, turning off the burner on the stove. I spent an hour after she’d gone considering leaving that the same as well. Let the house burn and burn me with it. But the house was not so much a house as it was a duplex, and children lived in the opposite half.
But apart from that burner, the living room, and the dead girl, everything stayed the same. The living room only changed because I grew tired of looking at the same damned thing.
The living room. Sparse furnishing, in line with the house as a whole, because the place was larger than we had any need for and we didn’t have a whole lot of furniture, coming from a college dorm.
So, tired of looking at it, I took the couch and stood it on its end. Then I took the painting—of a generic cityscape at night—down off the wall and screwed it into the upended couch. That was the biggest change. The rest was small, like placing the Christmas tree sideways in a chair on the coffee table.
A bizarre arrangement, but looking at it was the closest thing in the three days I came to happiness. After looking at it for awhile, I paced the kitchen. Deciding whether to leave or stay in the house with the dead girl again.
I would have killed for someone to come along and break me from my being alone. Some interaction with the outside world, but I couldn’t bring myself to take the first step. Even something so small as listening through the walls as the Nazi’s next door screamed at their children. But I hadn’t heard a peep from them in three days. Were they not there?
And when I say Nazi, I’m speaking literally. They owned a full set of Nazi regalia and they named their children Ryker and Aryan. The mother gave me an owl candle once. Not at random, but because I like owls. So they seemed nice enough, but I’m white. My ex isn’t but I’m not sure they noticed…
My eyes came to rest on the clock, hanging on the kitchen wall.
But it wasn’t 11:14. I mean, it could have been but I don’t know. The clock stopped at the time she—my ex—had left. Not because it stopped on its own, like Miss Havisham’s clocks in Great Expectations, but because I had taken the time to stop it after the break up. 11:14 in the morning.
I imagined what I would say when people ask, “What? You were so good together! When did this happen?”
I’d say to them a precise date and year. Followed by a precise hour. Followed by a precise minute. Then I would watch them shift uncomfortably and say nothing more. I would watch them wonder, given that I’d taken the time to remember the minute so precisely, if it must be the worst minute of my life. Or the best.
If what they say about these things is true, then someday it would be “just another minute.”
But 11:14 or not, it was late. And I was tired. Not tired like exhausted. Simply tired of being awake.
Rather than sleep on the couch, which was on its end, I resolved to sleep in my bed. Despite the dead girl nearby. Maybe because of the dead girl nearby.
So I made my way down the hall, bypassing my office on the right which I hadn’t set foot in since three days prior. The room where I spent the bulk of my time before the break up. It felt freeing and good to exist outside of my ten-by-ten.
Further down the hall, again on the right, was her office. The greatest benefit the oversized house offered was space apart. We could stay away from each other without the need to accept that we were alone in the world.
But her office, full of things I bought her that she never touched and didn’t bother to take. All garbage now. Garbage I imagined my mother and grandmother would have to throw out because I wasn’t about to go in there. Not even to spare them the awkwardness of pretending not to notice my exes pornographic drawings.
On the hall’s left, our bedroom. My bedroom. Once our bedroom, where the only thing of note to ever happen was my going through the motions, acting as a human dildo.
All that remained of the bedroom, a bed with the only blanket and pillow I owned. And a closet with a dead girl in a mirror. I passed both bed and closet up for the bathroom where I stripped down and took a shower. Not for concern about how I smelled because I really didn’t care. But because everything in the house was covered in dog hair and I hated it.
That damned dog. At least she took it with her. Her dog, my responsibility. I was its keeper like I was her father. Which is to say not at all, but might as well be.
I washed, watching the black and white hairs run down the drain, knowing it was futile. They’d wrap me like a coat again as soon as I laid in bed. I imagined that I would always be plagued by these hairs. Even years later and several houses removed, I imagined I’d find them in the pages of books and covering the bottoms of boxes. I missed the damned dog but I didn’t miss her.
After the shower, I grabbed up my bottle of pills without allowing myself in front of the mirror because who knows what another mirror might show me. My pills—an antidepressant and horse tranquilizer all in one. I thumbed at the lid for a while, minutes, before placing the bottle back on the counter without taking one.
I hadn’t taken any since she left and I felt better for it. They made me happy at first, let me to see the aura around everything. Made my heart beat.
But the happy didn’t last.
I couldn’t escape this growing feeling. I wanted to kill something. Not so much out of anger a a simple deep-seated want to give it a try.
Kill who? Anybody. Random people at the store or about town. The mailman. Myself, but that wasn’t anything new. That came about a decade too late for being new. Most of all? Her.
The morning after she left, and the morning after I quit taking the pills, any desire to maim or murder anyone was gone. Was it her absence, or the absence of the pills, that took the urge away? All that was left?
I mostly just felt numb.
I went to bed. With my lights off, as they were, I couldn’t see the dead girl at the end of my closet, though I had clear line of sight. I left the closet door open. Not because of the cold sensation that crept up through my body when I so much as thought of the act, though that was present. More because this was the closest I’d felt to someone since… forever?
Laying in my bed, the more I stared the more convinced I became of traces of movement. As cold as I was, even beneath my blanket, her presence was more comfort than fear.
I closed my eyes and dreamt of nothing, dreams as numb as life. When I woke, morning light pouring through the windows revealed the closet and its depths to me. She stood there, in my mirror, watching me sleep.
She beckoned to me with a limp gesture. And I went, crossing the threshold between bedroom and closet. The door closed behind me, the last slivers of light revealing to me the dead girl’s lips as they formed a smile.