it wasn't really about vanity,
the times I'd be sitting in the car staring at the window, watching it intently like a cat watching a bird through glass, waiting for another
burst of light to come through the negative space between the trees flying by, so that for
a second or two, I'd be able to see my sort-of reflection.
when it happened, the window would always reflect only half of my face, but each time it was a slightly different half. it was at
a strange angle, the glass, tilted and lilting to look down a bit at me. I looked
kind of birdlike, the unusual shadows and curved glass lengthening my narrow nose, tilting my eyes. but the illusion was so slight that I still looked
it didn't actually mean much, at the time, when my reflection stopped being something unique and personal, something familiar, something
mine. I would still be all the time looking at the car window, only now I saw flashes of some strange, unearthly girl giving me a confused, exasperated face I hadn't told her to make.
she still looked like a bird, only she was always about to fly away and I was always afraid
that if she did I'd forget all about her like the songbirds in the morning that you notice, appreciate and forget again.
I didn't want her to fly away, but the sun was always fleeting and so was she. she was flown away. and that was why I watched for her so
intently. for a time,
she and I were silly friends, playfellows, amusement for each other on long car rides. then I started caring about, looking in other mirrors that weren't distorted and my reflection was not
birdlike in the least, but grounded. different.
flat mirror me frightened me a bit, after a while, so I decided not to think of her as a person. the girl in photographs, too, she wasn't real. not alive. not human. I pushed her away, too.
and now I don't know what I, I look like. I look down and see my legs, my hands and feet but they are just generic human legs and hands and feet. if i cross my eyes i can see the tip of my nose,
but that is a flesh-toned little smudge and not my face. bruises and scars appear
that I don't remember receiving, reinforcing that
doubt that my limbs are my own. reality
becomes a little birdy reflection, immaterial, an optical illusion always about to fly away.