You are me. I am you. We are one. We were one for years. Twenty-two, to be precise. And then you left me.
Our bond was ineffable, perhaps the closest assimilation is that we are twins. Joint by the mind, infatuated with each other’s thoughts and dreams. Remember the long summer evenings, playing in the park, our long blonde hair whipping back and forth as we rocked higher and faster on the swing. And when we would fall off (which was more common than not), I would be there to soothe you. For twenty-two years, the smile on our face didn’t leave. Happiness was an understatement.
Now, you look at me and I look at you. We both smile, our eyes lighting up, as we touch our hair to fluff it up a little. You seem to enjoy big, poofy hair nowadays. You’ve dyed it dark, dark like your soul. The makeup is too much; vibrant shades of red lipstick, blending into the dark blush spread across those pale cheeks. The lipstick is smudged. You look like a hooker. We look like a hooker.
And you’ve drawn these awful black wings onto your eyes. We used to hate this look. But now, we wear it proudly. The mascara is thick and clumpy, almost like dead spider legs falling down to brush our cheeks every time we shut our eyes.
Bile rises in my throat. I want to say something. I need to say something. But you’ve blocked me out. All I can do is silently glare out the mirror at you.
“Take these.” The awful lady with big glasses and a pitiful smile instructs you. She hands us an orange tub with little white pills. They rattle when we take them into our shaking fingers. Fear rocks through me at the realisation of what they are.
“Don’t!” I bark. You drop the pills in fright. But the evil Doctor quickly picks them back up and secures them in our grip. I try again.
“Don’t do it, Lily. You don’t want to get rid of me. I’m your friend.” I snap angrily, “Your only friend. Without me, you’ll be nothing.”
“Breathe through her, Lily. She will stop eventually.” The Doctor demands. We take one deep breath, hold it in our lungs, and then release it. We repeat this process four times. It infuriates me more.
“You bitch! Is this the thanks you’re going to give me? After everything I’ve done for you. Just you wait until we get home…”
“No, Lila. Stop.” You croak, voice hoarse and weak. I can feel that our energy is drained. We are exhausted; we spent all night arguing over this doctor’s appointment. Our eyes sag with the bags and there is a painful lump at the back of our throat. But I don’t care, I must win this war.
“Drop the fucking pills.” My voice is a snarl, and you visibly flinch.
Beside us, the doctor panics, noticing the scrunched up look on our face. The way your eyebrows are burrowed together when you focus on my voice. A traitorous tear slips down your face.
“Don’t cry, Lily.” My voice is much softer, “I’m here for you. But first we must leave this office. That Doctor wishes us nothing but harm. I am all you nee-”
“Take one now!” The doctor demands, eager to help. I switch tactics. I beg, plead, and sob. Don’t do it, Lils, we can get through this together. I promise to be quieter; I promise I won’t take control anymore, I promise to be bett-
I don’t get to finish before you gulp two of those wicked little pills down. And just like that, my voice is gone.
Twenty-two years we spent together, whispering secrets in the dark, giggling in the classroom when the lesson became boring, hiding from our father... All of that is gone. You paused my life like I was nothing. Like I was just another voice.
What are we wearing, Lily? I’ve never seen this leather jacket before, nor those studded boots. We look ridiculous.
Whose voice is that? Lily, who is calling our name…
Jake is here. No wonder you took more pills this morning. I guess you still haven’t forgiven me for last time. In my defence, I was in control for the first time in ages, and he did look ever so delicious. How could I resist not pretending to be you? I can still remember his warm touch and the feeling of my nails scratching up his back and-
Wait no, turn back to the mirror, Lily! Face me again. I have a couple more things I want to try. I will get through to you. I am much more powerful than you care to imagine.
You understand what it is like to be forced into the background. So why have you done it permanently to me? We are more than this. This isn’t us!
Lily, face me again!
Fuck, it’s too late. You’re gone.
You made a mistake looking into the window opposite you whilst eating your dinner. Your reflection is alive again and I know you can see me.
I will admit that you look quite pretty today, and I guess we do suit the dark colours, but why don’t we get back into our yellows? Yellow makes us happy.
Don’t scowl at me. It’s not nice. Did you not learn any manners from mother? I did. Which is why I’m here to offer a polite compromise.
Stop taking those pills and I will promise to be quieter. I will even give up complete control. Never again will I enter the front seat without your permission. You need me to be safe. Let me help you.
Wait, can you hear me? I can see the way a frown is licking your face as you stare at me in the window. Blink twice if you agree to my compromise.
“Can we swap seats?” Your voice rings through me. My heart drops in my chest as Jake peers up from his roast beef. And although I cannot see his face from here, I can imagine he has that stupid look on his stupid face; one of morbid curiosity. He only likes us because we are different. He enjoys fucking the crazy girl.
“Sure.” He bobs his head dutifully. Fuck you, Jake.
You quickly change seats. I can still see the back of your head, and I know you can feel me breathing down your back. But I cannot contact you from here. You’re free from me. For now.
Lily, I know you can see me and maybe you might even be able to hear me now? It’s been twelve hours since you took those death pills. You are due another couple in an hour or so. My powers are slightly stronger now as the drugs wear off.
You caught my attention again whilst washing your face in our bathroom mirror.
White bubbles fly everywhere as you massage the creamy face wash into our skin. Much to my delight, the awful makeup is slowly coming. We are returning to normality again.
I remember being born.
In bloody anguish did I open my eyes and talk to you. I helped you through it. You know what I’m talking about; we need not recount trauma. The pain entered my body as it did yours, and it burnt our souls together. Your brain split in two and yet we were one.
Till death do us part, right?
So, if we are not dead, why have we parted?
You cut me off again. It’s starting to really get on my nerves, Lily.
But you made another mistake catching your gaze in the phone screen. So, I’m here again.
I’ve noticed you’ve removed all the mirrors in our bedroom. You even changed the shiny cupboard into an oak wardrobe.
Here’s the deal: I want out of the mirror, Lily. Please. You don’t understand how claustrophobic it is in here. It’s stuffy and hard to breathe. I feel like I’m suffocating, slowly shrivelling away.
Please tell me you need me…
Okay, Lily, I think I understand now. I will give you the space that you desperately crave.
I will be here, waiting, until you need me again.
Hi, Lily, it’s been a while. You haven’t looked in this mirror for weeks-
Why are you crying? What’s happened?
That awful black makeup is smudged down your face and the spider legs have clumped together even more. You grip onto the bathroom counter and heave with sobs. I hate it; I can’t stand you being upset.
“H-He broke up with me.” You cry and it breaks my heart. Our heart restricts and it feels like we are going to explode.
No, no, don’t cry over him. I knew he was bad news for us, Lily.
“I don’t know what to do.” You sob, “He cheated on me. On us.”
My pity turns to rage. You sniffle up the sobs, taking power from my fury. Even with our trembling body, our gaze never leaves each other’s eyes. One hundred ways I could hurt him floods through our mind. For the first time in months, the corner of your lips twitches upwards. Our minds link together and a happiness seeps through me.
“Lila,” You tell me, looking much stronger than before, “Take control of us.”