: through the looking glass" :
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by vale

The morning sun flowed through the window like a river, with waves of water and light. It tentatively brushed the half-closed eyes of the woman, who was sleeping in her twin sized bed. Her head turned upwards towards the window were the light was coming and then lifted her body onto her elbows to see more.

“Good-morning,” she whispered, with a tear in her eye. Again she awoke in another bright morning. She was beginning to wonder if they would ever stop.

She sat up and slipped her feet into the slippers left neatly by the bed the night before. She walked over to the chair sitting in front of her desk and put on the homely brown robe that was draped across it. She walked into the kitchen to start the coffee and feed the cats. Everything was the same as it always had been; nothing of the mornings had changed.

She glanced at the bathroom door that was firmly shut on her way back to her room.

Slowly, she walked over and opened the door. Sunlight was shining through the window above the shower head and through the prism she had hung there when she first moved in. Shy little rainbows decorated the walls and the large black sheet she used to cover the mirrors.

She pulled the sheet off the full length mirror with a sharp jerk.

The sheet floated gently to the floor as she stared at her reflection, a small brunette wearing a t-shirt, panties and a full length robe stared back. In a thousand ways nothing had changed; she was the same just like the morning. But there was something different… a hollowness carefully hidden in a pair of hollow, summer sky eyes; a sickness filed away in the back of her mind and in the filing cabinets in a clinic somewhere.

She had spent a year pent up inside his house and his bed as he ruled the streets with a needle and a gun. He always came home when he felt it was necessary to drink her liquor, kiss her skin or bruise her limbs and pride. She spent a month carefully tip-toeing around him as she bought the train ticket, packed a suitcase and left him using a pair of broken wings.

It never occurred to her that a year of pent up anger and bitterness would form into a tumor that was eating away her soul in the dorsal compartment of her beating heart.

She screamed and threw the jewelry box on the sink into the mirror. She didn’t want to see the cancer. She didn’t want it to be the truth. The mirror shattered and the pieces dissipated into the air to reveal another reflection behind the first. “Yes,” she thought, “I know this girl.” She knew this reflection, the one that wasn’t sick and wasn’t dying. But to be safe she put the sheet back on to keep the stranger from coming back.

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