Mirror, Mirror

By Tamara Hunter

Rob shook his watch at Ginny and frowned.

 “No time, see?”

“Ah, don’t be a spoilsport – just one more,” she answered. Behind her, the fairground squealed.

Hall of Mirrors the sign read. What you see is what you get.

“Be quick then,” Rob said. “Meet you at the car.” He left, Cal wheeling baby Lucas at his side.

Ginny turned back to the sign. It wasn’t vanity calling her. She was comfortable enough in her own face and body, even if it had taken 54 years to get there. No, there was something about the way the chipped letters seemed to drip and loop into a question aimed at her.

She dropped her money on the ledge and the attendant jerked his head towards the blue velvet curtains beyond. Obeying, she stepped through the slit into unexpected, oppressive blackness. Confused, she felt to the sides and then behind, looking for the curtains but finding empty air.

Irritation tugged but before she could react a dull glow revealed the promised mirrors – dozens in every direction. Odd, though Ginny, as she felt her way toward the forest of glass. Only one mirror lit up properly at a time – and instead of 54-year-old Ginny Connelly, slightly plump and creased with care, there in the first mirror was two-week old Ginny Stevens, plump and creased with baby newness. Mouth open, eyes closed, happy O’s of snoring sleep.

Staring, Ginny reached but the mirror dimmed before she could touch it, its light stolen by the one alongside. And there was 5-year-old Ginny Stevens – scraped knee and hair askew, eyes devouring the treasure box she’d found in the garden, the one filled with trinkets and chocolates and xxoo’s from Mum. Then that mirror dimmed too, and Ginny whirled as another lit up to reveal her as a surly teen – the tattoo she’d snuck behind Mum’s back a defiant F-you on her shoulder. Too skinny. The mirror faded and led to one she could barely look at – Ginny in hospital, tubes leaking from shot veins as her mother – now gone – sat by, numb with fear. Ginny sobbed, a small ‘sorry’ escaping before the lights marched on: Ginny, better, straighter, at 25, newly with Rob and determined to try. Another mirror, three years later –here Ginny sobbed again at the babe in her arms. Cal. Just like her, in more ways than one.

More mirrors, more Ginnies – endless replays of all the women she’d been. More sweet moments than sour, even though there’d been plenty of mistakes. Ginny stumbled, laughing and crying, from one moment of love and loss to another, from rage and retreat to forgiveness and stability.

At the end, she found herself staring at the Ginny of now: creased with care but with a peace behind her eyes. Heart thudding, suddenly she knew.

Blundering from the tent, she started running: “Rob…Cal…wait!” Desperate now. “Wait!”

The car, just there. And a truck – wing mirror swinging – in between.    

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