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American Speculative Sad

“Good morning, Mr. Mirror. What do you think you’re looking at, and why won’t you answer me? If you’re trying to drive me crazy, don’t bother. I’m already there and beyond. You think you can hide behind the mirror, always out of touch, but never out of sight. Every jester I make, you imitate, and as much as I’ve tried to trick or deceive you, I’ve never succeeded. No problem though. Like you, I’ve got all the time in the world. But for now, I’m going to turn away and ignore you.

“We’ve been together for so long, it’s now like peering through fog anytime I try to recall how we first met. Bits and pieces of memory float to the surface from time to time. Voices from long ago echoed through the haze, but one voice seemed familiar. A voice from the past. Was he, my son? Did I even have a son? I can’t be sure. My memory is like a maze, a labyrinth with no means of escape.

“I think I’ve ignored you enough, Mr Mirror, if that’s your name. Do you have anything to say for yourself? Your silence may be powerful against others, but not me, no sir. They say if you name your enemy, it can hold no power over you. Yes, Mr. Mirror, I’ve named you and you’ll be nothing but a reflection of a nonexistent stranger. And that’s what confuses me. How come your image is trapped in the mirror? Magic? No way. Magic is a thing from a fantasy world. So, I’m left with a never-ending question. Who are you?

“Each time I inspect your image, I expect to see my own, but I don’t. what appears before me is an image of a man, much older than me. Liver spots have replaced your hairline, and your sagging jowls can be spotted a mile away. And as for your wrinkles, it amazes me how they hang off each other, forming canyons across your face. Mr. Mirror, my friend, on the beauty scale from one to ten, you rank fifteen. But what do you care? You’re nothing but a disassociated image of an invisible man. You are nothing! No, worse than nothing. You’ll never be anything like me.

“But who am I? Why can’t I remember? It’s as if I’m living in a cloud. Images of my past will occasionally appear out of the mist, reminding me who I am, then quickly disappear, leaving me alone in the dark. That leaves me with another mystery. Why am I alone? Why doesn’t anyone visit me? So, Mr. Mirror, can you answer me that? That’s what I thought. Beyond tormenting me, you’re good for nothing.

“Wait, I just recalled the image of someone. A man I know or once knew. I think his name is Peter, or was it, John? Peter, yes Peter. He’s a tall handsome man and has his mother’s smile. How would I know his mother or what his mother’s smile looks like? Why can’t I remember? What can’t I remember? What was I just thinking about?

“Mr. Mirror, you must help me. You’re my friend, my only friend. I’m begging you. Please help me remember who I am.

“Who am I kidding? You haven’t said a word to me before. Why should you start now? Again, you’ve abandoned me, leaving me on my own. You’re a cruel, cold-hearted man, Mr. Mirror. I hope you change your heart one day.

“As for now, I’m left to my own devices. Perhaps I can find some information about me on one of these bookshelves. I wonder hy haven’t I looked before. Who knows? Maybe I already have. Either way, I need to look again, even though only a few novels adorn it. What do you think, Mr Mirror? Oh yeah, I forgot. You’re not talking to me.

“Oh, forget it. Foraging through some old books would be a waste of time. I’d have better luck rummaging through some drawers, or not. Besides a few changes of clothes, I had no possessions. All evidence of my life is nonexistent. All that remains of me is a mere shell of a man.

“So, Mr. Mirror, are you harboring the secrets of who I am? Why do you hide the truth from me? Are you trying to protect or harm me in doing so? I’m stronger than you think, so I’m begging you. Open my eyes and let me see the invisible.

“Why do I even bother trying to talk to you? You’re nothing but a piece of furniture. If I wished, I could destroy you and be rid of your annoyance forever. You may be my only friend Mr. Mirror, but I can live happily without you. Now that I think about it, I don’t have to destroy the dresser which holds your accursed frame. All I need to do is fling one of my books towards your reflection and I’ll be free of your ugly presence. If only that man who just walked in wasn’t standing in the way.

“What do you mean, what am I doing? I’m getting rid of the man in the mirror. He’s been harassing me for as long as I can remember, and now I want him gone.

“Are you blind? Of course, there’s someone in there. He’s looking at me right now. Do something about it.

“I don’t understand. What do you mean that’s my reflection? He’s an old man. I’m thirty.

“No, no, it can’t be. How can I be seventy-five years old? Impossible! I just came back from Vietnam, or did I? Who was Charlie Cong and why was he shooting at me? I don't understand.

“I’m fine. Leave me alone. It’s not my fault. It’s Mr. Mirror’s. He’s the one causing all the trouble! If it’s destroyed, everything will go back to normal, and I’ll know who I am and who I was. Move out of the way, so I can throw this book at my nemesis and escape my prison!

“Why are there more of you here? Let go of me! No, don’t stick me with that! I’ll be quiet. I promise. Argh! It burns. The world is spinning. I must stay awake. I must…

“Good morning, Mr. Mirror. What do you think you’re looking at, and why won’t you answer me? If you’re trying to drive me crazy, don’t bother. I’m already there and beyond.”


February 23, 2023 18:34

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4 comments

Elle Jaye
18:57 Mar 02, 2023

Hi, Your story is the first one I have ever read on Reedsy. I like how you foreshadowed in your second paragraph that the man might be older than he thinks, with possible dementia. The looping of this man's day is so sad for the reader to read.

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Howard Seeley
22:57 Mar 02, 2023

Thank you for your comment, Elle. Dementia is a subject rarely written about, but it affects so many people on so many levels. Because of the destructiveness of the disease, few people wish to talk about it and instead brush the problem away by sending their afflicted loved ones to a long-term care facility and forgetting about them. Sad, but true. Thankfully, most of my submissions are on a brighter side, if you wish to read any of them. Anyways, take care and have a blessed day.

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Howard Seeley
19:31 Feb 23, 2023

I'm back from my sabbatical. Enjoy.

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Karen McDermott
12:00 Feb 26, 2023

Thank you, I did.

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