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Rated: E · Prose · Personal · #2274858
Obsessing about one's image in a mirror
They say the mirror doesn't lie. But the brain behind the eyes staring into that mirror has a way of distorting, or ignoring, or flat-out lying. As I stood there reflecting (sorry, I couldn't help it) on the face looking back at me, I couldn't decide exactly who I was at that moment.

My wife still loves me, and she still says I'm good looking. But is she just trying to convince herself? I mean, most of my head is now a barren wasteland, and I have a pot belly. If she truly thinks that's good looking, does that mean she was lying forty years ago when she told me I was handsome?

The mirror shows me blips and bumps and folds, as well as a couple of scars, none of which I notice when I'm not staring at my naked self in reverse. It's only a pane of glass with a reflective coating behind it, but it can be a cruel reminder of one's age and state of deterioration. And as much as I wanted to, I couldn't look away from my reflection.

When I stand in front of a mirror, I can't take my eyes off the image that looks almost nothing like the old family photos that sit proudly framed on the mantle and the bedroom dresser, or that hang on the wall in the den, or that wait in the dark of an album for someone to get nostalgic. Sometimes I remove one of those photos and stand in front of a mirror, comparing. Okay, maybe the shape of my mouth hasn't changed that much. And my eyes are still the same color. But who is that teenager in the prom tux, with my mouth and eyes? And what about the pretty girl standing next to the guy in that photo? Would she recognize me today? And would I recognize her? And what does she think when she stands in front of her mirror?

I've never known my wife to lie about anything. So if she truly thinks I'm still good looking, I guess that's okay with me. Why should it matter what I think of me. And she's changed a lot, too, but I still find her quite attractive. So never mind what we see in the mirror. It might reflect surfaces, but it knows nothing about emotions. Not that this thought will stop me from taking an occasional peek.
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