where is me
I’ve been trying to put the pieces back together for years. It’s the same routine: I’m on my hands and knees in front of a wood frame that once held a full length mirror sifting through pieces of broken glass with my hands. Since before I can remember, the mirror had a few cracks meeting in the middle, but it wasn’t until later that it finally shattered. So I’m there, in my mind, fixating over the pieces. The problem is, I position the pieces together on the floor, each one a new facet of the whole, but it’s never quite right—I don’t recognize myself; I don’t like what I see. No matter what there are still cracks in the reflection. So I scramble the pieces, distraught and frustrated.
What is life? Is life the faint existence of knowing reality, or is there meaning?
I can remember playing ball with my dad in the back yard. I can remember riding in the shopping cart as my mom strolled down isles at the grocery store, reaching for the ever fleeting boxes of sugar cereal. I can remember lying in the sun. Going to the fair. The zoo. The Pet store. But I can’t remember growing up and wishing I was a heroin addict. No, that was too fucked up for my little mind.
It was like day to night: a panorama of happiness that shifted from life to death. From meaning to mere existence.
It was beautiful, then insidious:
I used to find joy in the simplest things—playing fetch with my dog, sneaking cookies when my mom wasn’t looking… I was a cheerful, young boy who would show up at your front door, grinning from ear to ear, wearing a Boy Scout uniform decked out in service badges and such, and ask you to purchase some popcorn to support our troop. I became an Eagle Scout. I loved being involved in my community: I was a Page for the state capitol two years in a row. And I loved life.
FADING TO GREY
Then, I turned to my left and saw it shatter. It was the mirror, fogged and cracked. A face shown through the open hole. It wasn’t tangible, though. Just an essence. A spirit face. It opened its mouth and began inhaling my life from my body. Sucking my soul into its captivity. I reached for the wall, trying to brace my self—no luck. When I could take it no more, I let go; my soul, my body, my memories, everything sucked in through the broken mirror and into the mouth of a demon.
I lied there, in the spaces between moments in time, in a puddle of blood, clinging to my own scarlet mess. Between life and death: in a place of existence. And I remained there, clutching my sharps container filled with dirty needles. My body, just a strawberry patch baring the track marks of many memories and many losses.
So, then, what accounts for that gray area. The slow shift from good to evil. From night to day. A lack of focus? An inattention to what I cared about and what I reasoned to believe? Maybe I just began focusing on what was around me, instead of what was in me. Instead of the truths in my heart and the lessons I had been taught. I just don’t know; I’m not sure if I’ll ever know.
Closing my eyes, I enter into the room in my mind. I walk over to the pieces lain strew and begin assembling them, once again. The picture comes together. I position the last piece in the far right corner and look down upon the whole. The reflection is still fragmented, still shattered, but it no longer holds bearing over me. I lay an onyx rose in front of it and walk out of the room. I open my eyes.
I find myself wondering into that darkened room, again and again, looking into the mirror. Maybe I am trying to familiarize myself with what I see so that it won’t look so foreign: it’s supposed to be me. If I stand still, my reflection stands still, dead. I don’t like that much—I start feeling like the connection is too far severed. So I add motion. I try on different smiles. But what works the best is when I put my hand to the mirror and the other me does the same. A perfect fit—everything symmetrical. But there are just so many cracks.