Sunday, October 12, 2014

The man at the door


For years he had walked the wrong road. He had wandered down a rocky path.  He knew he had taken a wrong turning but he had no idea how to go back. He wiped the dust from the mirror that hung above his fireplace and stood looking at what he become for a while. He was ashamed at what he saw. Gaunt, disheveled, unrecognisable even to himself. It was time for change, no matter how difficult it might be.
    That evening he made the decision to change direction and get his life back on course. He rummaged through drawers of rubbish until he found his old Polaroid camera and a box of film. He then returned to the mirror and took a photo of himself. He sat at his  litter strewn desk, pushed aside heaps unopened envelopes He scratched and scraped with a few old biros until he found one that worked, then with pen poised above a piece of lined paper from an old exercise book he set about listing all he knew was wrong, and all he knew he had to change. In one corner he attached the photograph of the person he wished to leave behind.
     Finally he took one look in the mirror then covered it with a cloth. On it he pinned a note on which he had scribbled the date one year hence; the date on which he would look at what he had become. He threw a couple of other odd mirrors in the trash and set about the task he had to undertake. Over the next few months he would tick off the things he felt he had achieved. He avoided looking in shop windows and kept well away from anywhere there might be a mirror or reflective surface.

      *

     A year passed. It was time to take the shroud from the mirror and look himself in the eye. He stood for a few seconds with the corner of the cloth in his shaking hand then ripped it away. The mirror crashed the floor and shattered into a thousand shiny shards. 
     There was a loud thump on the door. Then another and another. His head was spinning. He was dizzy. He staggered to the door and flung it open. There in front of him stood a fine looking man, the image of the person he hoped he had become.  He became transfixed by the man-at-the-doors’ gaze. Something about those eyes was strangely familiar. Not a word was spoken, and then the man-at-the door slowly started raising his hand. He found himself doing the same until their hands met. The man at the door led him outside. It was like a dream. They wandered across a field until they came to a lake. The water was still and reflected the clouds, the trees and the birds which flew over head. As one they both looked down at the water, and as they did so a breeze blew across its surface and a moving pattern of ripples appeared. He could just make a reflection of the two of them standing side by side. Their shapes appeared very similar. Suddenly one of the figures pushed the other into the water and it sunk deep beneath the surface. Calm returned to the water and it once again became a mirror.

The man-at-the door stared at his reflection in the lake and liked what he saw. He had rid himself of the person he once was. He was reborn as the man he wanted to be.

11 comments:

  1. Mmmm. Thumps on the door tend to be foreboding, don't they? I especially enjoyed the repeated reflections and the calm rebirth. Thank you!

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  2. Oh!! I liked this very much..brilliant work!!

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  3. Remarkably imaginative and quite effective...

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  4. Interesting, though slightly disturbing how the "old self" was done away with. I wonder if the changes were all cosmetic, or internal as well?

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  5. Luckily I don't hate myself quite that much. Great tale Keith.

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  6. excellent story....very imaginative

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  7. Great work. Such an intriguing tale, both hopeful and vaguely unsettling.

    =)

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  8. It's all about recreating oneself...

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  9. Very original Loved it how he made the switch with the other man

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  10. Wow! What a terrific read. It was like Narcissus turned on its end. Well done.
    :-)
    Traci

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