Mirror Mirror on the Wall
...With help, I transferred successfully from the bed to the wheelchair. Things were progressing well. Next, I had to push myself to the basin. It wasn’t far away, just a couple of metres. I was just feeling proud of myself for managing to make it there smoothly when I raised my head and looked at myself in the mirror behind the basin…
It was the first time in more than two months that I had seen myself in a mirror. That first look petrified me. I wish I had screamed in alarm or cried out in terror at the truly frightful sight I made. Even going into tearful hysterics would have been better. But I was there, frozen immobile by sheer horror as I stared disbelievingly at my reflection.
My head bristled. My hair was less than 2 inches long and it covered my head in a carpet of uneven, black spikes. Even a buzz cut would have had been more stylish. As it was, my head was a toilet-brush. (Actually, I do toilet brushes a gross injustice with this description; toilet brushes look much better.)
I should have just looked away but I was unable to. I was transfixed by the sight of my eyes – the one and only feature I had taken pride in. As the left eye stared at my reflection incredulously, my right eye skewed crazily towards my nose in a grotesque, one-eyed performance of a cross-eyed drunk.
Next, I noticed my mouth. I looked like I had had a stroke. The right half on my lips drooped unnaturally and there didn’t seem to be anything I could do to change it. I tried moving my facial muscles in that area but none of them responded. In fact, the whole right side of my face sagged and looked depressed, as if all the muscles there had gone dead.
That wasn’t the end of my woes. The orange feeding tube dangled uselessly, almost tauntingly, from my right nostril. It swung to-and-fro gently, an alien accessory that I had never even known existed, much less thought that I would need one day.
Finally, to top it all off, my skin! While it had never been flawless and clear to begin with, it now broke out in angry red spots randomly clustered all over my face.
I stared in total and utter shock at the person in the mirror. Good God, was that me?!? It couldn’t be! I couldn’t recognise the person staring back at me. Her eyes were huge and…well, stupid. They were flat and dull, devoid of any signs of life or vivacity. There were no signs anywhere of intelligence, wit or humour. This person in the mirror looked nothing, nothing, like me. Instead, she looked like a shell, an empty husk of a person.
Maybe we shared similar features here and there but that was it. I recoiled from that reflection of myself, repulsed. Have you ever, really, loathed yourself? Enough to want to tear that person you see in the mirror to bits, just so she would cease to exist in this world? That was the way I felt.