You buy an antique mirror.
You slide out of your car like an eager parent about to pick out their new/old child.
You’re basically saving it.
The mirror is cracked near the bottom with thick, bronze trim with interwoven design that screams early Byzantine, or at least that’s what you’ll tell people. There is rust and dust and grime deep in the grooves, but you’ll scrape that out with a que-tip, a wet rag, a little toothbrush. You’ll clean out the mirror’s pores and give it clear, beautiful skin.
The mirror is circular and about the size of a manhole cover. You think about jumping into the mirror and slipping through to the Other Side, and all you’ll say to the people that you’re leaving is:
You work on the mirror like you’re working on yourself. You laugh at it and call it a silly little project, just something you’re trying out for a bit, don’t judge too much ha ha. But you work hard at the motherfucker, scrubbing, scraping and shining it so the world will ooh and ahhhhh. That’s what you want. You want the five H “ahhhhh”, italicized, because a word on a page cannot contain the orgasmic joy that is your mirror. It’s like water to a dehydrated man, ice on a burning sprain, kicking off your shoes at the end of the longest day.
You work on a mirror.
After you’ve done the edges so they’re gleaming bronze-gold, you polish the glass. It’s hard to look at yourself so much, and after a while you experience a little double vision, and when it clears, the person in the mirror cannot possibly be you.
You reach out to touch that person. The glass is cold and soft, like dipping your finger in milk. Your index finger slides in and disappears to the other side.
You could jump in the mirror.
You could lay it flat on the ground, stand on top of your bed and jump feet first into the glass puddle.
You don’t, though.
Because despite every motivational video and older fellow in glasses who tells you that you need to buckle down and compete, push yourself to go further, faster, to take big strides and big risks and you know, stop working for others, you can’t.
What if it hurts?
So you hang it next to your TV, so you can look at it every day. It’s reassuring to know that it’s there, just like that loaded revolver sitting in the desk drawer.
Just in case, you know?