mirror—-

——He was gazing into the hallway mirror, and the world reflected there suddenly dropped out of sight. The whole backdrop in the mirror, it slipped from sight. What! He felt like bending into the mirror and gazing down, to see what happened to it. It was like a picture lost its grip, and careened down–and took the wall with it. Leaving nothing whatsoever. He felt like he was standing in outer space. So then, still not panicked though, he mechanically turned himself around, rotated right on his heels, carefully, like he was on a swimming pool diving board.  Like he had to check to see if the world itself was still there. And of course everything was fine, it was an ordinary day, of no special import;  his eyes first fell on his black felt hat, which was sitting on the cane chair, there in the vestibule. For perhaps a very long time, until suddenly interrupted by this unforeseeable event, in the mirror itself, he had been studying his face.
—–But not really studying his face, of course, for what is there to study? He was more like hiding, just being his old chronic self, the thinking self– for standing in the mirror can indeed be a refuge, and one loses the time, if one is alone in the house, and one’s plans are indefinite, and therefore promising. Yes. Laughing to himself, he thought, “there must be something wrong with that mirror.”
—–Well, that is an absurd thing to conclude! And the residue, of what was a kind of unseen and silent explosion in his routine life, an alteration of his very serious attitude towards life, or the series of thoughts he was accustomed to pampering, about life, here–this residue remained. Within seconds, the fact is he became unsure about where he was actually standing, the bottom dropped out of his confidence in the very setting. The treadmill of the moment was stalled, and he had the childish idea that he could go back in time, and like get on the other side of what he just saw. And wait for a reenactment. That is, that it was an option to get back to the moment when what just happened, was just about to happen.  Say it was magic.  And catch it, catch the ceiling that dropped, like a world of falling plaster.
—–Is this the form of doubt, when doubt really hits? Playing around with subjective moods is one thing; having your fundamental reliances taken away, in an inauspicious moment–that is another.
—–“Whoa, boy,” he said to himself, and that didn’t work for anything. It wasn’t even his personality. He shivered, still rocking on his heels there in the hallway, afraid to look to the left, where in the bay windows would show an ancient winter scene, and cautious certainly, though why!, to look back into that old looking glass–and why speak in such a storybook way of the hallway mirror!, where his double self had dwelt so long, through long, interior winters. Was it always winter outside this house, when he came to such an awareness?
—–Then he felt a tap on his shoulder. Practically the grip of a strong hand.
—–“No,” he thought, though meekly, “do not come for me now.”
—–Hey! Not so fast with the melodramatic gesture, actually that was more like the tensing up of a back muscle, which threatened to throw him to the floor. He must be torturing himself with so many questions, he’s forgotten how to stand up, without twisting his body into a pretzel. It is hard getting familiar with these terms of existence, after all. Just a second ago he had hit upon another one of those insights, and then it was like he had to pay for potential understanding, pay for this altogether too dearly.
—– “I would like to extend my apologies to the man behind the curtain,” he muttered. Too much was happening to him, and he had forgotten his plans. What was he planning on? And I don’t mean for skimpy little today, I don’t mean for breakfast, but in general? What was his grander project, that would bring finality–though who would want finality? The whole problem with people was their readiness to spout their own puny ideas. If people would shut up more, and just listen, you wouldn’t have so many chandeliers falling–because, obviously, these scattershot catastrophes are telling us something.
—–He threw off this mood, and walked right over to the streetside window. Somebody had overnight thrown a large computer monitor in the snow bank, it was tipped there with its face to the blank sky. Lord! he thought, if I ever write a novel, this would be a good beginning. It’s like . . . this is always the beginning.

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