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The baby became a boy and the boy became a man. There couldn’t really be much more to it than that, right? It was odd, however, that the artist would dedicate so much of their life to such a story; one without depth or great meaning. I must be missing something. Staring closer, I realised that the character in the frame was doing something. As a baby, he was engaged with the nature around him. But, as a younger man, he was just staring into a lake. Same again as the fully grown man. Staring. Maybe there were fish in the lake or something – the artist didn’t give me any clues about that – but the character was certainly interested whatever was at the bottom. It’s possible that the character simply lost interest because there was a picture the lake with no-one there to appreciate its beauty.
Focussing so intently on the frame for so long, I had nearly forgotten that this objects’ purpose was to be a mirror. That was until I caught a glimpse of myself in the reflection. Usually, I would briefly look at my reflection and then turn away. On this occasion, however, I started to play catch-up with thoughts as they had realised something was different before I had: I suddenly looked older. (I had heard my mother and father use similar phrases but always passed it off as though they were having a joke with one another) Not “grey hair and wrinkles” type of older, but, older.
I started looking at the hair poking out of my head and was surprised to see so many gaps between each strand. I rolled my head forward while keeping my eyes fixated on my scalp. Following this trend, I examined my eyebrows. Although I had seen them many times before, I had never taken the time to appreciate them. What was their purpose? To protect my eyes? To frame them? Both? This was the moment I realised the difference between seeing and appreciation, something our art teacher at school had tried to teach us but that I had never quite understood.
As if I had primed my thoughts to start seeing beauty in the strangest of places, I realised that my eyes were a universe all on their own. The rivers of veins running through the whites of my eyes held me captive for I don’t know how long. I started to see beauty where I had never seen it before. Was it possible that every human was like this? Or was it just me? Exhausted from all of this thinking, I went to turn but the “me” that was in the mirror reached out, trying to pull me in. I dug my heels down into the carpet of my bedroom, pulling backwards with just enough force that the mirror me couldn’t pull me in. Maybe I could pull him out. I wrapped both of my hands around the inside of his arms and pulled back as hard as I could. He refused to move, instead sending me hurtling backwards and crashing into my bedroom wall.
That was when my father walked in. When I tried to explain to him what had happened and what I had learned, he either didn’t believe me or wasn’t ready to hear what I had to say, because as soon as I was done talking, he tried lifting it, but he could hardly get one corner off of the ground. He contacted a friend to assist in getting it out of my room.
I do miss the mirror, there was something about it. I just didn’t have enough time to figure out what it was.
My name is Gregg Savage and, every night when the house is quiet, I write and publish a free children’s story at dailytales.com.au for you to share and enjoy.
Illustrations by Alisha Towers: FACEBOOK
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