I looked in the mirror last night and saw myself. Hardly an earth-shattering observation; this is not exactly news which would grip the attention of media moguls or command a fleet of TV and radio vans to congregate on my lawn like a flock of migrating geese. It is, in short, rather self-evident.
The next moment, however, I disappeared. My image didn’t vanish: had it done so, it would have been an event that would have commanded the attention of physicists, physicians, clinicians, opticians, magicians and mirror manufacturers worldwide and possibly rated a scholarly writeup or two in Mirror Monthly.
What happened was much more mundane, yet at the same time it created an interesting marker on my road.
I took off my wig.
And I did disappear, at least for a time. The person looking back at me was, for a brief startling moment, no longer familiar to me.
I see that person every night before I go to bed, and every morning when I first get up. Very quickly, though, Stephanie appears through the quick ritual of makeup and hair, and that is who I see for the rest of the day. I’m most conscious of it when touching up makeup in a mirror, less so if I glimpse myself in shop window reflection or see my shadow. I simply expect to see Stephanie everywhere.
So it was startling to be surprised by that face in the mirror last night. It was even more of a surprise to find that surprising – after all, who else would it be?
The moment passed quickly – mere milliseconds, I’m sure. It was indeed me in the mirror, the same old face I’ve known all these years. This is the face of the person who has been with me all my life, haunting and torturing me to be sure, but also nurturing me, hosting me, sheltering me, giving me children and grandchildren, and who has finally found the courage to let me be me.
I hope I see that face lots.
What a gift!