I wake up wondering, how many people are here? It didn’t used to be so crowded. I know I’m not crazy, but my brain keeps putting slides of various people in front of my eyes whenever I look at a mirror. It’s like my house is haunted. Every piece of silvered glass has another person captured inside, each gazing at me. I blink hard and strong a few times. Come on, focus.
I sit up, throw on underwear, and launch forward for coffee. After rubbing my eyes, I glimpse early morning light rays streaming into the hallway. When I glance at a mirror, I notice a man’s shiny gray hairs wildly sticking out, a skein of loose wires stripped of their black sheath. His face looks like a desert crying for any splash of water. The thin, drawn visage looks old, but familiar. We must be related. I move on, stretching, sipping steaming caffeine, beginning to feel revved.
Coffee in hand and a few steps in the living room by the full-length mirror, I discover a slender, wistful fellow staring at me head to toe. His posture’s strong, erect. He has more dark hair and is more energized than the hallway relative. I notice he’s donning age well. His friendly gaze refreshes me like a warm Caribbean breeze. I hope he sticks around, I like amiable people.
When I saunter to the bathroom after getting dressed, I confront another stranger. How did he get in here? He has youthful features. Not too muscular, but heading there. Not too skinny but starting to round out. I reach out and he lets me stroke his whiskers. He smiles at me with glistening bleach-white teeth. Then he organizes his thick hair. When he finishes, he’s wearing the look of a champion, one ready to fight and get anything he wants. He’s psyched. I really didn’t want him to leave, but as soon as I move he vanishes.
Got a busy day, must keep moving. A few feet by the door in front of the mirrored closet, I run head on into another individual who is straightening his tie. Salt and pepper hair sit atop his intensity. Worries partially blanket his being. Confidence covers the rest. He’s smiling like the bathroom stranger. And he’s taller than the guy in the living room. His body’s almost flammable with power and personality. Exploding with desires and deals to be made. He’s in a hurry, his feet are ready to move confidently as if to sprint and win a marathon.
To check the weather I glance out the long front window and a little boy peers back. On his energetic face crawls a mischievous, sheepish grin. He bounds along with my every move to the door. Maybe he’ll follow me all day. It’s good to be around young people.
When I get home I wonder who will still be around. I lean down to kiss my bride and in her crystal blue green eyes I see the reflection of a kind, tired soul who hopes to wrap the day with ribbons of quiet talk and love.
Mark Kitrick has been a trial lawyer for almost 28 years. Over the years he has written many legal and scholarly articles as well as a history column for the Columbus Bar Association. This is his first short story.