Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Mirror

"THE MIRROR" - Clifton Bush Jnr.

It was an ugly mirror by today's standards. It was supported by heavy wooden claws for feet, and was oval in shape. It was a full body mirror and when Sherry looked into it she had to wipe away several layers of dust that had accrued over the years. The one thing that did intrigue her about it was the hand-carved design on top, that of a pharoah. It was unusual for a mirror to have that kind of a carving on it, but she decided that she wanted it anyway. She hollered down to her husband Mike to come up and take it down for her. As usual, he complained all the way up the stairs about it.

Mike hated these Saturday rummage sale trips. He was usually the one that had to haul stuff around, watching his wife blow good money on old junk that didn't mean anything to anyone but he usually kept his cool and didn't say anything. However, as heavy as this mirror was, he decided the time was right to give her an earful once he got it into the truck, and that's after he caught his breath. By God, that thing was heavy. And ugly, full of dust, in bad need of re-varnishing, and it needed to be re-silvered, too. All for the measly sum of $200. He almost lost it at that.

"Two hundred dollars for an old junk mirror? Are you insane?" he barked at her after they got into the cab. "Do you know what we could do with two hundred dollars?"

As usual, she just sat there and took it. She'd heard all his arguments before, but she felt something special with this particular piece. She didn't know why, but it had attracted her like a fly is attracted to honey.

"Yes, I know what we could've done with two hundred dollars, but something about this made me want it, bad," she tried to argue the point with her husband. He fretted and fumed all the way home.

"Yeah, but when I want something I get the third degree," he said. She just looked at him, and knew that today was going to be a bad day. She did know that she didn't want to spend it arguing with him, for they rarely had time together anymore, and she thought that these weekly rummage sale forays would bring them closer together. Maybe she was wrong.

They got home and Mike backed the truck up into the garage to unload the mirror. He had it covered with a blanket and he grunted and groaned all the way into the house. At least, he thought, she held the door for him this time.

"Just set it in the living room, and I'll find a spot for it," she called after him. He grunted in acknowledgement, and walked back to her, brushing the dust off his clothes. "Damn thing is heavy enough," he complained.

"Oh, hon, thank you," she said, trying to soothe his anger. He only grunted and went to the fridge to grab a beer. He popped the top, and took a long swallow. She went past him to examine her treasure.

She took off the blanket, and the first thing she did was get some paper towel and some windex to clean the silver off. After that, she grabbed a bucket with some warm water and soap and proceeded to clean the wooden part of the frame, especially the engraved pharoah's head. When she rubbed it, a strange feeling came over her, kind of like being in the desert, a hot wind blowing at her back. She was so engrossed in her cleaning that she didn't hear Mike telling her he was going next door to have a few drinks with Bernie, their neighbor.

She closed her eyes, and could almost imagine being in Ancient Egypt. She could feel the hot wind blowing, the smell of the oasis under her feet, and the swishing of palm fronds. She opened her eyes, and the Great Pyramids stood before her; she sucked in her breath in amazement.

The stark beauty of the desert struck her full force, like being hit with lightning. How did she get here? What had happened to her house? And why was she dressed in the full regalia of an Egyptian Queen? She looked around in amazement.

Her house had become a palace, with servants fanning her with palm fronds and offering her grapes, wine, and fruits. She looked at her hands; her fingernails had been painted with some kind of strange ink. She walked inside the palace, and saw golden statues everywhere, busts of Ra and other gods scattered about. She walked through the palace in a daze, unbelieving of the wealth she saw. It was unreal.

Suddenly, she heard her husband's voice calling out to her, as if very far away. "Sherry! Sherry! I need another beer!" came the disembodied voice. She closed her eyes again, and was soon surrounded by her own house, with the plain white paint and sparse pictures on the walls, and her annoying husband hollering at her. What had just happened to her?

She looked at the mirror and just smiled.....

BIO: Clifton lives in Michigan and has wanted to write stories all of his life. He is happily engaged to a wonderful woman and raising his 10 year old son. He enjoys writing, astronomy, NASCAR, football and the outdoors in general.


  1. nice one ... I love mirrors and all they can do, other than reflect, that is ... in fact I am editing an anthology of mirror stories for Static Movement right now. Clifton, this was an intriguing read, especially the interplay between the two characters which was so natural.

  2. Oy, Clifton, you can't leave it there, it's unfinished!
    Somewhere, I think, there is more to this story - have you considered taking it on into several thousand more words?