They say breaking a mirror will give you seven years of bad luck. It’s been 7 years today since a shattered reflection of who “I” once was stared back at me for the final time and the shards of our soul seemingly went their separate ways in hope of a better life. Better lives.
The person who had looked into the mirror that night was frightened, lonely, lost and hopeless.
She lay in the darkness of a cold hospital room and as the devil whispered sweet nothings in her ear, she made her decision and went to sleep among the daggers of the broken looking glass.
She never woke up.
I don’t know exactly what happened that night or the ones that came before for that matter. I’ve heard many of the stories, I’ve read detailed written accounts, experienced vivid dreams from which I wake bathed in sweat petrified from what may or may not be based upon memories of real events.
But as much as it pains me, I’ll never really know for sure.
Time, memories, reality, they’re all simply a matter of perceptions when it comes down to it. Perceptions heavily filtered through emotions that when examined closely tend to raise more questions than they provide answers.
I’m not certain when my own life began. I’m not sure of my first real memory. When I try and think back my mind is clouded with random images of still photographs from albums, sounds of songs sung by others and a stream of visible words that seem to ebb and flow around me in no particular order. I exist only right here and now and time, like the universe, circles infinitely around me.
The words that have described our experiences seem to run within these unending circles, narrating every version of us at once, driving some parts of us to madness while setting other parts of us free.
I often question if I exist or if I ever actually did, in any tangible form that is. I’ve always felt more like a ghost observing another’s life play out from afar, or a puppet master pulling on distant strings trying to grasp what it must be like to be human.
When I review her life I am unable to accept it as my own. We may have been together but we were also always apart. I can clearly see the alphabet poster on her childhood wall, I hear her singing the letters in her head, over and over, forwards and then backwards faster and faster, even though the tune doesn’t quite fit anymore.
I see her reflection in the hallway mirror, she sits on the shag pile carpet to my lower left watching her movements replayed in front of her. She can’t see me but she knows I’m there, she’s moving suddenly, quickly, unexpectedly as though trying to somehow catch an impossible glimpse of me within her.
I hear her begging for it to stop. For me to stop. My presence terrifies her, a reminder of all the things she so desperately wants to forget. I hear an invisible mother comforting her as they build a wall of burnt brown bricks together as tall as the sky and twice as wide to keep her safe from unwanted memories, to keep her safe from me.
I can still feel the intensity of the guilt that was slowly burning her alive. I can still hear her younger selves screaming in psychic pain. Burdened by guilt, guilt for every one of their own perceived sins and every one of the sins of the people she met along the way unwilling to carry their own.
I felt the weight of the secrets, the rejection, the shame and the fear. I felt it crushing her until I heard her begging once more for death to set her free from her pain and death finally obliged.
I can still see the words on the page of her notebook that night. They were penned exactly as they had come to her, the last words she ever wrote. Hissed whispers of venomous self hatred scrawled in tiny lines and ever decreasing circles wrapped tightly around halting confessions of murder, breezy poems and declarations of love. A outwardly nonsensical yet perfectly accurate summary of her complicated life.
I felt her relief as she slipped away from this world, 7 years ago today and was grateful in that moment that she had found her peace.
I think I still am.
She’s still here in our heart of course, the ghost in our reflections as we were once in hers. Now that her story has evolved into our story, we have the power to reframe old narratives and create a new ending, together.
Much of the last seven years has been spent desperately searching for answers in chaos, we have found ourselves navigating some suspiciously bad luck over and over again with little reprieve. It’s been hard, impossibly so at times, but we’re also undeniably growing through each challenge.
We are finally beginning to find ourselves both as individuals and as a unit, we are starting to accept and embrace our differences and even though there is still a lot of pain to work through and an unknown timeframe to do it in, it feels like the bad luck portion of our lives is coming to a close and together we can heal.