My Place Then, Your Place Now

06 Sep My Place Then, Your Place Now

I left the door 3 inches open. The only rule my parents had for us; 3 inches that made them feel better about us. My hands fall from the warm knob of the door and, in tiptoes, I turn to face a reflection of you… and me. In a black mirror that leaned proudly against the wall.

5… 4… 3… inches. I stand behind you. 3 inches between us. Your scent invades my nose, a whiff of Downy detergent. An inedible substance, yet I consume every bit of it. I follow your gaze as it traces the surfaces of the wall behind my mirror. Finally, it comes to a gentle stop. A photograph of us, tilted and barely hanging with a piece of cello tape. It was art. The only art I chose to display in my museum; telling the story of us. Short and simple. Your gaze softens and a sweet burst of laughter resonates from your mouth as you turn your back on our reflection to face me. 

 3… 2… 1… your chest meets mine, and at once, I was in the safest place I could be. Like gears in sync and puzzles that fit, our sights fill each other’s. My head tilting up and yours tilting down. Your arms around me and mine sitting perfectly on your shoulders, around the nape of your neck. I see the depth of your stare. And the place I hold inside of it. 

I leave the door shut. My parents had disbanded our rule, the only rule that could have made me feel better at this moment. My hands fall from the harsh knob of the door, I turn to face a reflection of me. Just me. Alone. In a black mirror that leaned carefully against the wall.

1… 2… 3… seconds pass. I search every crevice of the mirror for you. Every scratch and every speck of dust I question, asking if they know where you are. My eyes break into a sweat as they grow tired of running, trying to find you. The taste is salty and resentful. The taste is hurt and painful. I swallow it and let it fill my heart with hate. I look to trace the old route your eyes once traveled on the wall behind the mirror. Yet, my gaze is not met with a gentle stop but another brutal awakening to our reality. The museum was closed today. No artifacts to be shown. No story to be told. The ending was short and simple. An agonizing burst of weeping resonates from my mouth as I turn to my own reflection once more.

 3… 4… 5… seconds pass as I stare vacantly at the empty space beside me. It was your space. My knees weaken and immediately, I am met with the sharp spindles of the carpet. I drag myself closer towards the mirror, indifferent to the burning sensation I feel on my palms and my knees. I kneel before the black mirror, in the most vulnerable place I could be. And like a moth that hovers over the fire, like a fly that mounts itself to a web, I look deeper into my eyes. And it hurts – It hurts to see the depth of my stare. And the place you still hold inside of it. 


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