Magic House Of Mirrors (a short story)

house of mirrors
From pinterest- a painting in black and white of two hands held against a mirror

Kemi had said repeatedly that she would never visit the magic house of mirrors. Why glimpse into worlds you can never visit?

You can’t visit your reflection.

So, Kemi was not sure what she was doing here on a Monday morning. She was supposed to be at work. However, work meant little to her anymore. She wanted answers and she was done pretending she was okay. In any case, she could not accept the way everything was.

The house of mirrors had been his invention. Her brilliant husband. Tayo had invested his life into channels to alternate realities. And then he had left her, just like that. Because she was that easy to leave behind.

Kemi steeled herself at the first glimpse of her reflection. She looked…distressed. Her hair had not been washed in weeks, her black hair was shrunken and greying at the roots. Occasionally, her friends had commented on her appearance. But she really didn’t care what people thought anymore. In the light of what Tayo’s absence had done to her, all her other concerns seemed like mere irrelevant shadows.

Once, she had been the type to wear stylish, colorful dresses. Now, her black gown hung limply on her shoulders. Although, Kemi was not bothered. Not much bothered her anymore.

Kemi walked across the floor of glass, her much-abused slippers reflected on the silver floor. In the face in the mirror, there was, with a little sadness and more fury than Kemi thought she had in her. She placed a hand on her reflection. Almost simultaneously, her reflection did the same. Her reflection seemed for a split second too slow to respond. But that was normal. That was the point of the house of mirrors.

Kemi strolled past the mirrors. Slowly, her reflections began changing. While some of them had greyer tresses, some had neater hair. She walked until found the reflection she was looking for. A happy, smiling Kemi, wearing a sundress. A Kemi who had not lost the love of her life.

“Where is he?” Kemi asked, in a loud whisper.

Happy Kemi was shocked. “Where is who?”

“Tayo.” Kemi gritted out.

“Oh, wait.” Happy Kemi’s bright, mascara-lined eyes grew wider as she called out to her husband.

“Tayooo. I think your mirror thing is working oh.” Sure enough, Tayo soon appeared and Kemi had a sharp intake of breath. He looked exactly like Tayo before his deterioration. Except that happy Tayo had grown out his hair in locs and sported a beard. Kemi sighed wistfully.

“No way,” happy Tayo muttered behind his wife. “Are you real..?”

Kemi let out a puff of air. She did not come here to answer stupid questions. She came here for answers. And she would get them, by Jove. As soon as possible.

“Why…?” Kemi asked, only just realizing she had not really thought this through. What reality would understand her? To be honest, she would not have understood herself a few months ago.

“Do you love her?” Kemi asked dreadlocks Tayo, for want of a better question.

This dreadlocks Tayo looked at his wife in shock, and said instinctively, “Of course.” Kemi wanted to rip the happy smile off happy Kemi’s face. She turned and started walking away.

Another Kemi caught her attention. She wore bright makeup and a pantsuit.
Kemi waved at her. “Hi.”
The pantsuit reflection frowned, pursed her red lips, and blinked hard.

“Oh wow. Those drugs must have hit harder than I thought.”

Kemi wasn’t even sure what to say to this woman.

Where is Tayo?” Undoubtedly, that was a good question to start from.

The woman looked confused for a second. Then her face brightened in recognition. “Oh, I haven’t seen him in years, and probably for the best. He had big dreams, but Tayo wasn’t exactly grounded in reality, you know what I mean.” She waved her hands in the air.

Kemi knew what she meant. It was why she had married Tayo. His mind was never quite here. There were always a thousand possibilities with Tayo. And he always wanted to explore each one of them.

Tayo sat in a wheelchair. His neck was in a brace. A cast around his leg. Because, unlike her Tayo, he hadn’t suceeded in his last task.

“Why did you do it?” Kemi was surprised as she felt her eyes begin to moisten. She thought she had no tears left to cry. “Why did you leave me alone?”

Wheelchair Tayo was struggling to speak. “I…didn’t.”

“I don’t understand why you’d do such a thing.” Kemi was starting to sob.

” I never even… Why did you try to kill yourself?”

The Kemi in the mirror was sad and mournful. But clearly, this version of Kemi didn’t understand true loss. She had not fully lost her husband as Kemi had.

“I don’t think he owes you an answer, Kemi.” Her mirror image said, after a bit of silence. The name, from her lips, sounded cold, unfeeling. She was turning away.

Kemi hit the mirror and successfully managed to hurt her fist. “Don’t walk away from me.”

She needed answers, even if this cowardly reflection of herself wasn’t brave enough for them. Kemi was.

Angry, Kemi kicked and cast her weight at an empty mirror until she heard a loud crack. A sharp cry erupted out of her mouth as as a crack split across the mirror of the room.

She had destroyed the house of mirrors…

Kemi picked up a shattered piece half as big as her head and smiled, a little deranged, a little hopeful. Simultaneously, her reflection smiled back even wider.

For more stories like this, check here.

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