Thin Glass

The mirror was my harlot, my whore, my plaything to tease in the dark and fondle with my eyes. The reflection looked like me, it even moved like me, but we were not the same.

The gentleman that gazed upon me, moving as I moved, hardening as I hardened, had the audacity to believe that he was the one in control. And that was what made my domination so sweet. In both our eyes, we were the pimp and the other the prostitute; we were the master and the other the slave. Thus is the great paradox of life: each and every man is trapped inside a prison, and each and every man holds the key to the cell door. And yet, does he choose to turn the key and escape? Does he hell. For the door to his freedom is hidden – in plain sight, yes – but hidden all the same.

It was a cold January afternoon when I first met my reflection. Aunt Keira had returned from a long session of wasting time rummaging around second-hand charity shops; sifting through rubbish and old heirlooms. Well, every one of her trips to town had been wasted up to that point, but today she returned with a rather ornate, if not old and decrepit, oval mirror.

It was a small, unassuming thing, designed to be hung in a downstairs bathroom, or else stuffed in a dusty attic for years and years until the day came when the homeowner died and their foolish grandchildren came to clear the house and discovered the mirror hidden above their deceased grandfather’s bedroom ceiling.

My horrible aunt bought the beautiful mirror for ninety-nine pence, and marched it straight back home tucked under her arm, proud of her latest booty, eager to show it off to her sister and her sister’s spawn.

My mother grimaced at her sister’s new find and suggested she return it at once. The glass was, according to dear ma, far too filthy, and the gold-painted frame was a good example of poor craftsmanship. It certainly hadn’t been made in England, she remarked before stomping out, leaving my aunt shaking her head at her ugly reflection.

“What do you think, Eddy?” Keira asked me, not taking her eyes away from the mirror. “Do you think it should be thrown out like your foolish mother does? God, would I like to throw her out.”

“I dunno,” I admitted, turning to inspect the mirror.

It was at that moment that my love affair began. ‘Twas mesmerising lust at first sight, and passionate love at the second. The second viewing would come several hours later, when my aunt and mother were snoring loudly upstairs.

“Good evening,” I greeted the mirror, yanking off the blanket that my mother had thrown over it. For some reason, she thought the thing cursed or would bring bad luck unless covered. I suppose in one way she’d been right:  perhaps if it had been left bare, it would have enchanted my aunt and she would have taken it away from me.

“Good evening,” the reflection returned to me. This shocked me at first, but as its lusciously smooth, baritone words seeped pleasantly into my flesh, I found myself perking up down below.

“Suppose we should shake hands?”

“I think you know that won’t be possible.”

“And why’s that then?”

“I’m not sure if you can see it, but a wall of glass stands between us.”

“Then I’ll break it.”

“Break it and you’ll break me.”

Our conversations sounded like that every evening. And every evening I would enter the downstairs back room to discover my mother had thrown the blanket back over the mirror, and every evening I peeled it off slowly, growing hard as I did so.

One February morning, my aunt dragged me into town and we stopped in a charity shop, the one she claimed had been the birthplace of my dearest friend.

“My aunt bought a mirror from you last month,” I explained to the stupid old woman manning the front desk. “Where did it come to you from?”

“Afraid I’m not sure the one you mean, laddy. We go through many a mirror in this here shop. Now, what did the one in question look like, young man?”

“Go fuck yourself.” And I spat in her face for good measure.

My friendship with the man in the mirror went from strength to strength with every passing day. I began my mornings wishing him well before I left for school, and we spent our evenings pleasuring ourselves in each other’s company. One night I surprised him with a three-course meal, and I had hoped the evening would be incredibly romantic, but my dear friend had something on his mind, I could tell; he sipped his juice and gobbled down his toast, but he was hiding something.

“What is it?” I finally plucked up the courage to ask. “I go to all this effort and cook you a beautiful dinner and all you do is sit in silence. Well, what is it on your mind?”

“I’m leaving,” he said abruptly, lowering his goblet slowly to the table. “Keira spoke with your mother just before you got home from school. She’s taking me away. Donating me to another shop.”

“What?” I almost dropped my glass in surprise. “Why?”

“Your mother does not approve of our relationship. Your aunt tried to defend us, but… well it was no good. Keira agreed to transport me to the shop tomorrow.”

I could barely see through the tears welling in my eyes. “What… no… I’d rather die than be without you.”

“Those are strong words,” he said, his eyes widening with every syllable. “But words is all they are.”

“I mean it. I’d rather leave this world than live a single day without you in it.”

“I would have you prove yourself to me, but I believe, as fortune would have it, there may be another way.”

“Anything… just name it! I would pay any price to spend eternity in your company!”

It has me now. Once, I believed myself to be the master, but now I see who truly owns who. I am but a sheep, a piece of happy livestock, and the countdown to my day of slaughter grows nearer by the day. I cannot say I do not look forward to it.

We’re watching each other, playing chess with our eyes, dancing the good dance as do duelling soldiers before making the first strike. At this point we are both unsure what we are duelling for. I submitted long ago.

A terrible thing happened last night: Aunt Keira stormed into my bedroom and found me with myself. We’d been having an argument – I was trying to explain that I needed more time, but the master wasn’t having any of it.

Keira seemed baffled by my state of undress and turned to flee, her eyes wide and bulging. I sprang into action and caught her before she reached the door. I turned back to the master and awaited confirmation. He gave me the nod, and in that moment I knew what I must do.

Keira and mother are dead and it’s all my fault. The master is displeased. He says that I misread his signal and that all he meant was for me to scare them, perhaps to ruffle their feathers a bit, but never to go this far. But I couldn’t help myself, and who could blame me? Would you have held back, after your jailor discovered you with your dick in your hand, promising your reflection that in a few hours you would slit your own throat?

The master told me to live. He changed his mind not long after Keira bled out. I am to survive this world and transcend to the next and become that which the master can never ever be: free.