What the Mirror Wants

John K Adams
The Haven
Published in
8 min readApr 16, 2024

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Photo by Inga Gezalian on Unsplash

“What’s wrong with me? Do I even exist?”

Selma gazed at her reflection in the medicine cabinet mirror. Her irises contracted as she peered into her pupils.

“Anybody home?”

She chuckled. ‘Of course, I exist. I blink, therefore, I am…’ But somedays she struggled to own that even to herself.

Remembering her college biology class, ‘I’m alive. I move and breathe. God knows I excrete…

It is one thing to choose anonymity. Quite another to feel ignored. Even a dismissal requires recognition of the banished. No unicorn ever felt dismissed. But for Selma the brush-off would feel like a promotion.

‘Am I stuck up? Unwilling to share my rarified air with the hoi polloi?’

Looking for signs of egotism, Selma scanned her one bedroom no view apartment. Her wardrobe of muted colors and sensible shoes hardly shouted, ‘Look at me!’

Vanity didn’t motivate Selma to glance at every reflective surface. She didn’t primp or fix her hair. Never wearing it, she didn’t worry about smudged makeup. If anything, she underplayed her appearance. She’d accuse a shrinking violet of pompous grandiosity. In each reflection she saw herself, just as expected. She’d know that face anywhere. Even if no one else did.

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John K Adams
The Haven

I write to see memory and language wrestle with reality. Please comment.