In the mirror-opposite corner of my mind, behind the holograms and fun house mirrors, there is a mirror that reflects nothing but the soft, dappled light sneaking through an Elm in September, with the leaves silky and fine, and the wind moving the shadows around like a kaleidoscope and whistling a lullaby that is a nice, cool glass of lemonade personified as sound; you can look at the mirror and see yourself reflected in a nice, looping swing, high at the top of its parabola, and your legs are kicked out in front of you, your smile is a gleaming half moon of white, and you’re twenty years younger, and all the mirrors across the globe shine with your beloved image…
Across the city, then across the state, and the country, and across the Atlantic and all the continents thereafter, is a necklace of reflections strung end to end ad infinitum.
I met a man on the road, in Colorado, or else it was Idaho. I don’t know. I broke down just before nightfall, in February, in the fricken mountains. My poor Honda Civic refusing to climb anymore. I was walking to town on the side of the highway when his car came limping up and pulled over in front of me. I approached, wary. He told me it was eight miles to the nearest town and motioned for me to get in the car. He had all the charm of pocket lint. I thanked him and got in cautiously, looking around for shotguns or men tied up in the trunk. We drove wordlessly. He eventually sighed and popped in a CD. We continued picking the plums of silence while listening to Conway Twitty through the tiny Le Baron speakers. He dropped me off at a shoddy looking gas station at the edge of a creepy, blistered, old town. I thanked him again and he nodded — but just barely — then rattled off into the night with country music trailing from his car.
We all forget to clean our mirrors, here or there, and come Spring must wipe down all the smears and fingerprints. It’s so hard to get a mirror clean once that hardcore rust has built in. Sometimes you have to toss the mirror in the trash bin and go get another.
I moved apartments, into a sunny, spacious 1940’s era one bedroom with a view of the Hollywood sign. In the morning I bought my vegetables from the Farmer’s Market. Then I went down to the Fairfax Trading Post and bought a desk.That’s where I sit right now, in front of my new desk. The sky was markedly blue, that deep multi-layered blue that fills your heart with helium. It was a day where you would catch yourself walking by a storefront and see yourself reflected in the glass, and you would think to yourself, ‘damn, it’s lucky to be alive.’ It was that blue!
I am organic matter. Not that it matters. I am plastic. I am flattened by the sparrows’ trill. I am a wanderer. I’m lost in wanderlust. I cook chanterelle mushrooms in extra virgin olive oil. I talk about the latest trends and newest bands. I am a target market.
Johnson had never been able to sleep. He is six years old and has not slept one single night in his life. The rings around his eyes are black as coal. He is a somnambulist. All day he floats around his parents’ house as they stare on with tears swelling up in their eyes. It kills them to see their only a child, a ghost of a boy, living like this. One night, while his parents slept in their room, Johnson wandered in and stood before their slumbering shapes for over an hour. His father was snoring loudly, the sound oscillated and echoed over the room. Johnson eyed them sleepily, seeing not his parents, but two boulders swept up on some deserted beach. He hadn’t any idea how to conjure up love for these people. These things. He wasn’t even sure they were real. An urge to take a hammer and smash the shapes flat filled him with a darkness that caused him to shiver. He then drifted out to the front porch and waited for dawn to come, listening faintly to the morning birds wake up the rest of the world.
The wind turns corners we can’t. It pivots. Whips. Flies. Swarms. It comes in from the desert carrying dry heat that lights forests on fires. It pushes in off the coast with such wetness you have to dry the dog off after a walk. The wind smells of carbon and distrust. It carries pollen and human skin cells. It is alive.