Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Casual Glance

For me, glancing at a mirror is no casual event. And it’s not just because I’m no longer part of the cool crowd; the young and immortal crowd. I haven’t looked easily at a mirror since I was 23 years old - because of her.

I knew her for a week and we had a great time. She was very beautiful with full, soft lips and dark seductive eyes. I can remember her smile when she listened to the cicadas, buzzing loudly in staggering rhythms, out in the lazy summer afternoon. I remember her making love to me; her long black hair brushing against my chest and abdomen. I remember how the light, from the street lamps outside her apartment, would sneak past the curtains and highlight the curves of her body. Then casually I hit the road again. I had music to play.

Three months later, I was a thousand miles away in another state when I heard about her from some friends. If it had been just a normal suicide, ending in death or a long hospital stay, maybe it would have just passed me by as a sad tremor – or a tragic coincidence. As it was, she slashed her face quite violently. And it also seems my name had figured prominently in her episode. She had not been as casual as I.

Did I care about her? Of course I did. My lovers have never been casual to me. I hate one night stands. But you see, I have never felt that I was very important to other people. Friends to them sure, but vital to their lives? No way. Not me. I’m just a guy. I’m not casual - I’m disposable. Why would they even notice if I left? If I had known then, what I know now, I would have invited her along for the journey until she tired of me. Until she became bored with me and needed to dispose of me. I would have held her hand until she needed a new lover. I wish I could tell her how sorry I am. I just didn’t know that I mattered to her.

So what did she see in the mirror? What was it that had to be so terribly disfigured? What was it she saw that so offended her? Every so often, when I look in the mirror, I have to wonder what it was. I can't help but wonder. What was it? And sometimes it is even more difficult to look in the mirror, because as hard as I try - as hard as I want to - I can’t remember her name.

- Just a peasant

Photo by Tzu-yen Wang