She was cosily asleep in her bed, wrapped in her blanket. She had a peaceful look on her face, a sleep uninterrupted by frequent alarm sneezes or the need for water or the washroom.
It was eight forty five, fifteen minutes till her alarm went off and she woke up. Her room was silent, no sound to disturb her. All the lights were switched off, only the ambient light illuminated her room. The room had a picturesque and quaint feel to itself, like out of a movie.
Another ten minute passed before a voice rose in her room. “She should wake up any second now”. There was no reaction or movement by the girl. The voice didn’t even faze her. The next five minutes till nine went the same as all the other minutes. The odd voice either had its watch set to the wrong time, or was in the wrong room.
It turned nine in her phone and it started ringing and woke the girl up. She woke up with a sudden jolt. She picked up her phone and turned it off. Her face betrayed her long, deep sleep. She looked shocked and lost; obviously troubled by the loud screeching noise. She shook her head and then readied herself to let go of the momentary shock and start the day.
“You’re getting sloppy”, the odd voice rose again. “You used to beat your alarm and turn it off before it even had a chance.”
“I know. I’m getting tired,” the girl replied nonchalantly, stretching her legs. A second passed, and all of a sudden she became shocked. “Whose voice is that?” She had gotten to the side of the bed, eyeing her room cautiously.
“Mine,” the voice responded without any sarcasm or comedy. It was straightforward.
“Oh ha ha,” the girl said. Her voice was sarcastic but worried underneath. “How funny. That’s a convenient answer, isn’t it? Isn’t our voice always our own.”
“Yes, yes it is,” the voice responded like before. “Aren’t all our voices our own?”
“Great. Now if you could tell me who you are, in proper terms.” She was eyeing her room for any weapon she could find.
“I am you,” the voice rose again.
“Oh hi me,” the girl answered sweetly. “Could you tell me just one thing,” her voice rose till she thundered. “Why are you troubling me?”
“Because you need to get out of the rut you continuously put yourself into. Where you lose all energy and excitement to beat your alarm clock. Where you wake up happily, not shocked out of your wits,” the voice thundered.
The girl was caught off guard. The outburst was the last thing she expected from the voice. She looked blankly ahead and stopped her search for a weapon.
“I’ve already answered that. “There was silence between the two. The voice was waiting for the girl to speak. The girl searching for the answer.
“Where are you?” The girl eventually broke the silence. She got up.
“Follow my voice. I’ll let out a little hum. Reach there,” the voice responded and then started emitting a light hum. The girl followed the hum to its source and reached it; her standing mirror. “Take a seat,” the voice said.”
“My mirror?” She put her hands on the mirror and moved it along.
“No, you,” the voice spoke again. “Have a seat.”
She turned around and pulled a chair. “Me, as in, my reflection?”
“No, you as in your mirror. What, do you think your reflection is you in a different world?” The mirror chuckled.
She let out a little chuckle. “So, you can also be funny. That’s good to know.” She made herself comfortable in her chair. “But what’s this whole thing, you know. You my mirror being me and all that.”
“I’ve never questioned it. It’s become a long standing tradition of ours; and I’ve become too comfortable to actually put an effort and know about it. I’ve always been looking over you; trying to help you through everything I can. I look at you going to bed and waking up every day five minutes before the alarm. And sometimes going back to sleep after shutting it off in the sanctuary of your bed; away from the world. I’ve seen you excited at wearing new clothes. And all the times when you’ve stood lost, with that look of sadness and despair, staring into the mirror while grooming yourself, before you’re suddenly jolted back into reality by some unseen stimuli. All those hours fretting, not feeling good enough, all the phone calls which make you feel happy, feel good, as well as those which steal away your peace of mind. I’ve been through all of this with you. It’s been my sole love to do, from your birth to your inevitable death. I’m always looking over you.”
“What about after when I die?”
“Like I said, I’m you. When you die, I go along with you.”
There was another long silence between the two. The girl hunched over her chairs, fists forming by her sides. She was breathing hard, straining her mind to move towards something.
“Why are you here all of a sudden? Talking to me like this, when you’ve never done it before. What changed all of a sudden?”
“I think I reached my limit. Looking at you go through all this; again and again, with no end to this loop till you are pulled out of it.”
She closed her eyes and thought. She took in a few deep breaths and sighed. Realising all that the mirror was talking about. Day after day of constant poison, the people whom she was with every day. Who put her down, didn’t appreciate her, made jokes about her, shouted at her; drained her energy.
“Why do you let them do that to you? Why do you let them bring you down, tell you you are a mess-up for the littlest of things? They laugh at you when you tell them about your dreams and aims. They poke fun at you, make jokes about you. Try to pull you down to where they crawl and leech. Them and all their incessant alcohol and smoke vapours, their mind numbing and boring conversation which couldn’t even stimulate a rock. Their pathetic waste of time. All you do is go along with it, hiding behind a fake smile, trying to be fine with all this. Why do you let them do that?” The voice thundered its words, except the last sentence it was about to say, which it said gently. “Most importantly, why do you stay?”
She stayed motionless throughout. She heard every word with her eyes closed, and the words played themselves out in front of her. A few seconds later, she spoke. “Maybe it’s because I feel there is good in them. That this is just a phase and they will snap out of it someday.”
“And for that you let yourself get thrown around like a ragdoll?” The mirror thundered again.
“You could be nicer you know,” the girl thundered back. “Screaming at me isn’t going to help.”
“I know. I’m sorry. I thought maybe the screening would get some sense into you,” the mirror apologized.
“I feel bad too. But it’s the hope that they will see the light. That’s why at times I feel it’s okay to be with them.”
“How’s that worked out for you?”
The girl chuckled. “Not too well.” There was more silence between the two, then the girl spoke again. “But it could have been worse.”
“Yes, surely could have been,” the mirror joked.
The girl laughed. “Imagine me, walking around like a zombie, navigating through bars with more zombies like me.”
“That would surely be horrible,” the mirror said unenthusiastically.
“Yeah. But I won’t let that happen. I won’t become a zombie, or what you fear I’m becoming.”
“I know. But it still worries me.”
“Would the worrying help?”
“In ways. It catalyses me into action for you. But not too much worrying. That leads me to anger and losing control.”
“Everyone keeps on telling me what you’re telling me. It’s not easy.”
“Doing what you believe in and standing against the ridicule of others. It’s not easy. It gets too strenuous most of the time if you go at it alone. Talking, like now, helps. Even if it is against what I feel. I let out some things and learn something as well. How to go about it better, or how to improve. And not just here, with my friends, but life as well.”
“Is all this worth it? All the feeling bad, getting up late, being drained of energy?”
“I honestly don’t know. I mean, it’s weird. Do you stay with the friends whom you’ve always been with? Or do you let it all go away? What does one do here?”
“Whatever one’s life has been up to that point.”
“I guess so. Your past dictates a good part of your future.”
“Yes, but there are exceptions. Sometimes you can do things which nobody expects you to do. We all have that in us. That’s why we have reached form sticks and stones to steel and now the internet. Who knows where we’ll go from here? Cosmic beings of pure intelligence? Or maybe beings who only communicate telepathically, or our eyes? Or maybe creatures with no bones, so we won’t have any fractures. And where will we go from there? It’s all endless. And entropic. But fascinating.”
“You watch way too much sci-fi mirror.”
“You’re bad at holding these conversations, especially given how much you loved wondering about all this in your thoughts.”
“I can’t stay the same.”
“But you shouldn’t change to the extent where you start losing all that which made you happy. Are you happy?”
“I don’t know. It’s tough to say. I smile, I laugh here and there. So I know I’m not sad. But happy. Explain happy.”
“Not being sad I guess. We haven’t put much thought into it.”
“Wow. Before you, I never knew I was so smart,” she mocked the mirror.
“Ignorance is a gift cherished only by the complacent.”
“In this case, this line fits. You are what you say,” the girl smirked.
“And I am, in all aspects, you. With my quip, we shall get back to what we were talking about: happiness.”
“You can’t digress, can you?”
“Not by complacent people.”
“I guess I’ll have to get moving then. What do you think happiness is?”
“It’s a state of satisfaction maybe. Not having thoughts plague your mind. Your eyes have a specific shine, glint in them. They aren’t searching constantly for something, or lost deep in thought. It just, feels great.”
“But you can’t be like that all the time. What if you’re deep in thought? Or there is something stressful going on in your life? Or you’re having a particularly deep conversation which doesn’t involve a lot of smiling.”
“Happiness isn’t discrete. It doesn’t come and go from one situation to the other. It’s always there.”
“How certain are you while stating such a thing?”
“I don’t know. Maybe very, maybe not very. All I know is, we used to be happy in the past. We were better than this. Even when we had a bad day, we knew life was still happy. Somehow, I guess that hasn’t stayed.”
“Or maybe we just remember the happy parts of our past and cling onto them? Or we associate happiness with particular qualities. Which, if we stop having, we believe will also take away our happiness. Maybe we’re unhappy because of ourselves. Because we keep on searching and searching for something to make us happy rather than actually setting out sights on what’s there in front of us which we should appreciate.”
“We constantly put so much pressure on ourselves. To be happy, to be who we were. To reach back to where we were, which in actuality moves us further away from it. Happiness is the ease with which life moves. That ease cannot be brought about by pressure. We must struggle in life, but not for happiness. Never for happiness. Happiness brought about by pressure isn’t happiness. It’s something else.”
“What what?” the girl chuckled. “I can’t know the answer to everything. Think for yourself.”
The mirror laughed.
“Given your mind, you deserve so much more than you are getting. You need to go out and get it.”
“But what if I fail? And lose what I am even above?”
“We can never let fear guide us. It takes from dimly lit to dimly lit; always in the safe comfort zone between the pitch black and the radiance. It’s a terrible waste to only look at things from one level of brightness. “
“It is. Life needs colour, lots of it. And perspective. It needs to be big, not long.”
“So, what do you make of it?”
The girl did not respond. She sat in silence, thinking about her answer. She had brought her left knee up and put her chin on it, her arms wrapped around her knee.
The air around them started to become wavy, as though fading out.
“I don’t know. I guess I’ll have to make a plan. See how much more I should stay, and where I am headed to. I think I’ll decide the path only before I set on it, not now.”
The waves became fierce, darkness started to seep into the waves, little images of a room, with light like hers an hour ago moving into the present. A noise started beeping, a high screech.
“Wait, what’s that?” The girl’s focus shifted to the beeping noise. “That’s my alarm clock,” she exclaimed.
“Why, yes it is,” the mirror smiled. “Time to wake up and put your thoughts into motion.”
“What?” She was incredulous. “I’m asleep? Is this a dream? Meaning none of this happened?”
The waves became more intense, and the room from the past mixed in with the present and became more prominent.
“Its status of having happened depends on how you felt it. If it felt real, could it not have happened just because it is not how things are not supposed to happen?”
The waves reached their maximum, and the present had all but lost itself in the past. Frantic, the girl said what she knew would likely be her last words. “Who, are you, then?”
“You,” the mirror smiled.
The waves broke upon reaching their maximum. The waves broke into a quaint, picturesque room, like out of a film, the girl wrapped in her sheet, the alarm ringing incessantly.
The girl, in one swift motion, shut off the alarm and got to her feet.
“Five minutes late,” she said, looking at the phone, which said 9:00 AM.