I wake up on a knobby carpet, the burnt out butt of a cigarette still locked between the fingers of my right hand. It takes me a few seconds, but I eventually recognize my surroundings as the floor of my own living room.
“A definite plus.” I congratulate myself aloud, the words tangled on the field of Velcro that was once my tongue.
My legs, hobbled at the ankles by a pair of skinny jeans, and the whole of my exposed skin covered in a neon orange fallout that doesn’t take long to identify as the remains of a bag of stale Cheetos, I amble into the toilet still shackled at the ankles- just in the nick of time to relieve my aching bladder in the appropriate manner, and thus add plus number two to the list of things I have to be thankful for.
Bracing myself over the sink, I stare into the eyes of the woman who peers back at me.
“Who are you?”
“What are you?”
One minute, she is someone I understand. An ordered being given to lists and labels. One who spends quiet afternoons re-arranging house plants from “needs a lot of sun” to, wait, wha…what the hell…? Is never late for work. Pays all her bills on time. Someone who is quite content to spend hours, days, months, sometimes even years in no company but her own.
But then something will happen. Usually something as negligible as a refrain from an old song that begins playing over and over and over again inside her head until she…
“Until she is something I can no longer control.”
I speak aloud again, this time my tone, almost apologetic. As if the woman in the mirror is a separate entity. As if she is not my own reflection, but rather, someone I barely even know.
But have wounded. Have wronged. In some irreparable way.
And then, I slink away from the mirror, and when I am sure she can no longer see me, I slip into the welcoming arms of my own familiar bed.
Where I will hide and wait.
Wait, not to forget, as I know only too well that will not happen.
But rather, to forgive.
This piece is my response to the photo which was provided by Nekneeraj on MLMM Photo Challenge and the four phrasal prompts provided by LRose on her blog of the same name. The phrases were:
- stale Cheetos
- re-arranging house plants from “needs a lot of sun” to, wait, wha…what the hell…?
- She is something I …
- …and then…