In the corner of my bedroom lies a mirror, tall and imposing, perfect in all its loneliness. Graffitied with the pinks and blues of Expo markers, this mirror is caked in doodles, messages, drawings, and memos, is so completely plastered with writing that it has become difficult to find one’s own reflection in the glass. Over the years, family members and friends have scrawled onto this mirror sweet reminders and silly sayings, very literally leaving their personal stamp on my life. The messages on this mirror sing to me the love of my friends and offer a daily boost of confidence; the mirror is my life-sized scrapbook, my memory message board, my life in a scribbled collage.
Now, however, instead of peering into this magical mirror and feeling the familiar lift of these signatures, I am left blinking back tears. Blinded by these messages, distracted by these demons, I am swallowed by my mirror into my shouting past.
“I love Camille! Always, Laura.” Lopsided and barely legible, my best friend Laura’s signature is distinct among the others-my favorite. Ironically, this message is the most painful to read, and I have now trained my eyes to avoid the section of the mirror altogether. Time and time again I had mentally traced the curves of Laura’s writing, memorizing the simple truth the letters promised. Laura’s message, those five simple words, is truly the only piece of Laura I had left after her marijuana habit slowly stole her from me.
I fell second to a drug, a manufactured addiction with which I could not compete. At first, Laura attempted to introduce me to her new friend, this drug, but I resisted and patiently listened to her convoluted arguments as if they were fragments of music I couldn’t quite identify. The Laura represented in the mirror signature fought to remain present in our friendship, but the Laura of this deceptive new dependence fought as well. Laura couldn’t have us both, love us both. I was losing my best friend, and she was losing herself. We pretended not to notice.
The marker of Laura’s message has begun to fade, as if the pinks and blues of her signature understand that she is gone now. Whispering what Laura no longer holds true, the scribble on the mirror used to fill me with hope that perhaps there was still a chance for reconciliation, and that perhaps my mirror would prove to Laura that I believed in her strength to overcome her addiction. Contorted with falsity, the signature remains a heart-wrenching reminder of my failed friendship. The inscription on my mirror is the truth Laura once knew but has chosen to forget, and Laura’s once dear face has been transformed into the shadowy mask of a stranger. Tears form as I remember this broken relationship of my past, but this time, I let them fall. Wiping my eyes, I bring the damp tissue to my mirror and finally allow myself to wipe it clean.