“I don’t know you,” I wanted to say to the person staring at me. “I used to know you, but I don’t know you.” His face is devoid of feelings and creeping me out. The room is filled with steam. Beads of sweat are gathering mass and rolling down his temples in rivulets, just like mine. He changed a lot over the past few years. He is wearing torn jeans in contrast to his usual trouser fit. He grew a stubble, which gave him a manly look as opposed to the juvenile one I remember. The skin on torso is a little saggy, indicating that he gained and lost considerable amount of weight recently. His red eyes and black rings circumscribing them show his lack of sleep. I started wondering what kept him awake at nights, then pushed the thought aside, for this is not the right time. I always wanted to know what changed him from the sweet little kid loved by all to . . . to whatever he is right now. But whenever I am close to getting an answer, a cold apprehension surrounds me, that the knowledge would seep into my very fabric and leave me marked forever.
I wanted to say many things to him, most of which are more likely to hurt him. So many things, that I lost count of them. I even forgot some of them. The problem is, he knows all of them. But he chose to ignore them, which, somehow, he thought would solve them. Whenever he looks at me, he thinks he sees his reflection in me. But the secret is that he don’t know himself profoundly enough to recognize that his true self is buried deep inside and what he sees is what he wanted to see.
Then his glassy eyes became watery. Woah… wait a minute. Did that much time pass by already? Time flies by. The Ritual has begun. Usually I would have more time. Tears already welled up in his eyes and were about to spill. His gaze intensified, trying to look through the teary curtain. His lips started to tremble. His hands and legs became shaky. He looked as if he is about to have a seizure. If I did not know better, I too would have thought so. However, I knew better. At this point, he is most unpredictable. I have to wait just a few more seconds, until his tears depart his eyes. After that, I am safe. Then I want to console him and say what he wants to hear. I want to say the most cockamamie things to make him feel better. Like “it was not your fault at all. Your parents were to be blamed. They sinned so horrendously in their previous life that they were punished to procreate you and undergo the ramifications.” Or “you were just a tool to deliver the Judgement.” Or “you are as innocent as a butcher’s knife.” Then he would crumble down, as if his battery died. As if suddenly the Earth’s gravitational force increased many folds and his legs couldn’t support his weight anymore. He’ll sit there, wailing like a bereft animal will for its mate, until the emotions pent-up during the day are quenched. Then the crying stops abruptly. He’ll stand up, wipe the tears and will leave. His gait will make that of an 8-year-old introvert child about to face a group of thousand people seem more confident.
This has been happening for so long a time, I forgot when it began. Why it happens is another long story, I’ll save it for some other time. Without this ritual, the day feels incomplete, like a full meal without dessert. So, when tears appeared in his eyes, I prepared myself for what was about to happen. Despite its repetition, I am never ready. Then came the trembles. I started counting seconds. And I went beyond where I usually stop. Tension built up inside me with passing seconds. Unpredictability for this long is not a good sign. I prayed to God “please, not this way. I have never been out of this room. Please, a few more days.” As his hand curled into a fist and rose, I am convinced that this would be the day of my demise. I intensified my prayers. “Please God, a few more days. I will behave. I am very young. Please God, please.” He hit the wall beside me. I trembled once and sweat dripped off me. Then he took his hand back and stood there for a minute. At this point, I contemplated my whole life. I was separated from my family at a young age only to be bought by him. I was true to him even during the worst time. After all that, I cannot die like this. I should not.
Then an amazing thing happened. He wiped the tears from his eyes. There is a stern expression on his face, a brave expression like the one of a soldier about to enter a fight and is about to deliver the certain defeat to the enemy. Yet it is as soft as that of a mother reprimanding her beloved child. His eyes are filled with the joy you will feel when you found something you thought was lost forever. Soon after, he walked out of the room with a confident gait. Something impossible happened today. Something I anticipated for so long that I gave up on it. This incident proved to me that miracles still happen.
It seems God heard me after all and gave us both a second chance. Not every day can you see death in the face and, as you people say, live to tell the tale. But who would listen to a mirror telling stories except a few curious one like you? Therefore, I will keep this tale mostly to myself. Before you leave, let me tell you this – “don’t tell anyone a mirror told you this story, they’ll think you are crazy.”