I could see through her. It was obvious that her lack of substance was not apparent to anyone else, but I could see where parts of her were so thin as to be translucent. She appeared to leave the world undisturbed as she moved through it; unable (or unwilling) to notice the beauty and the possibilities all around her. It was as if there were a veil between her and the real world that she didn’t have the strength to rend through, no matter how she longed to feel her heart beat again.
Her soul weariness was evident, and when I finally caught her gaze she just stared at me quietly, without without even a hint of a smile. She shrugged a shoulder and looked down and carefully removed the few remaining dreams and treasures she had that still clung to her, and let them flutter to the ground between us.
I was appalled and for some reason frightened by this, and I demanded to know what she was doing. Her eyes widened and her voice quivered a little when she asked me if I could really see her. When I told her of course I could, the almost desperate expression that crossed her face left me with a deep sense of unease. I fidgeted a moment and started to turn away, knowing it would be easier on me if I did. Her whisper stopped me before I could do so.
“You’re the only Hope I have of living in your world”.
I was astounded and horrified, was she dead? Before I even spoke, she was shaking her head and answering my question.
“Oh, I’m alive…but I’m not living”.
I was staggered by her words, and my heart was thundering like a thousand wild horses set free. There was an almost insane look of hope in her eyes that squeezed my heart and made me want to run for safety at the same time. The growing determination I saw on her face caused my chest to tighten and compress, making it difficult to breathe, her hands clenched into fists at her sides as she waited for some mysterious sign from me that remained lost in my growing panic.
I looked past her and saw the trail she had left behind her disappearing far into the distance. I saw discarded dreams, crushed hopes, relationships buried under piles of neglect, talents set aside and scarred by mockery, and worst of all-drop after endless drop of Hope all along the way. She stood before me, losing her last remaining drops, and dared me to turn away.
I lifted my head and looked directly into her eyes as my chest loosened and my heart began to beat strong and steady, like a promise to myself. I lifted a trembling hand to reach out and touch her face in compassion…
…and my fingers brushed the coolness of the mirror.