all of the selves we Have ever been
There are two mirrors in my house.
The one I rely on is over the bathroom sink. That mirror is also the door to the medicine cabinet--a handy combination. I might need a sedative or an antidepressant depending on the day and how close I look.
The other mirror is a full-length one that hangs over the closet door in the bedroom. The hangers attach loosely to the top of the door, so the mirror slides around depending on the force with which the door is opened and closed. That mirror was a hasty dorm room purchase which translates to disposable and uncomplimentary. It is more like a fun house mirror. Depending on the angle and the light, I might look like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon or a tipsy lawn gnome.
At this stage of life, there are no “Mirror, Mirror on the wall” questions in this house. I try to minimize interactions with my reflection. I barely recognize her, and we are not on speaking terms. The day is coming when I might have to scrape a DNA sample off the glass in order to secure proof that we are the least bit related. I keep in mind that the Magic Mirror was the invention of Brothers Grimm, the tellers of dark tales.
I am now of a practical age which means visually challenged even in glasses. If I were to interrogate my mirror, I would not waste my first and only question on “who is the fairest of them all?” I would demand answers to questions that might be of some real help to me such as: “Is there an intruder standing behind me?” Or “Where are those pesky chin hairs I feel but cannot find?” “Is that a liver spot or a melanoma?” “Do I have spinach between my teeth, or have I lost a tooth?” “Is that a smudge on the mirror, or am I having a stroke?”
Typically, I use the bathroom medicine cabinet mirror for the purposes of basic hygiene and to ensure that I have combed my hair before leaving the house. I check myself in the tall mirror to make certain that I am wearing matching shoes and that there is not a string of toilet paper attached to either one.
Of course, I don’t leave my house much during the pandemic. I might be as horrified as the Wicked Queen when next I talk to my mirror. I accept that there is someone fairer than me. What I fear is that there is no one worse. I doubt there is enough magic in any mirror to make up for the damages done by months of social distancing. My attitude has gone to hell along with my wardrobe, make-up, and visits to the beauty salon.
The kind of magic mirror I need is the Romper Room kind: “Romper stomper bomper boo, tell me, tell me, tell me do…Magic Mirror tell me today did all my friends have fun at play?” Miss Nancy would then name all of the friends that she could see through her mirror, and she would tell us what they were doing.
I don’t know about you, but right now, I would much rather be looking at my friends than myself:
"Mirror, Mirror on the wall, let me see them one and all…Romper stomper bomper boo, tell me, tell me, tell me do…Magic Mirror, tell me today when can we all come out and play? “
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