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My eyes creak open and scan the unfamiliar room for my wedding band. I find the ring, slip it into my underwear, and proceed to locate the bathroom. And finally, I'm in a bathroom. Dazed and weak from the night before and a constant ticking in the ceiling fan, I fall to the floor. Suddenly, however, I becoming aware of surrounding uncleanliness. I pull it together and make a desperate effort to secure a small sliver of soap stuck to the bottom of the tub. The soap is furry but will do for a quick clean-up in the sink. Towels reeking of body odour, hard water, some cat litter — I become somewhat clean. Now, I'm at a loss.... So, I open the mirrored door to the cabinet and through foggy eyes discover some generic pills. I pop them and, after some careful minutes inspecting the reflected room, I'm ready to feel like myself.

Still half-dressed I creep out of the bathroom, aware, once again, of how foreign this place is to me. I hear no voices. Evidence, however, evidence of someone besides myself is in everything. I smell bacon, taste perfume in the air. My mouth muscles hurt in a way that I know means I have been talking a lot; but it seems apparent, there is no one. There is no one.

I find my clothes intermixed in a general pile of shirts, pants, and underwear. I dress, and once dressed, go back into the bathroom, which is unfamiliar again. I place my tie straight down, fix my collar, etc. My eyes sweat. Right now, here, the mirror is for stepping out of myself. So, I spend much time reflected and I make myself into a kind of mirror — a lowest common denominator of everyone. Others, I assume, will do the same for me.

Then a women walks into the bathroom out of nowhere and saying nothing. Black hair, tall, smooth skinned, barefoot, in her underwear, and carrying a photograph of herself. I don't speak. She rips the photo in two. From the top of her head to the base of her neck she tears a perfect line and now, in each hand, she holds up a side of her face for me to see. I'm shocked. Next, she nudges me away from the sink. She places the torn photo in the sink and turns on the warm water. The sink fills over the photograph as she fumbles for an old, rusty can of shaving cream behind the cabinet's mirrored door. I avoid my reflection as the door swings.

She turns off the tap, just avoiding a flooded bathroom floor, and injects the water with shaving cream. A milky, sticky potion brews in the sink. Her wet hand then comes slowly to the base of my neck and guides me to the mirror. Warm water runs down my back. Again, she reaches into the sink. She whispers that she loves me and pulls from the water one half of her photo.

Barely clothed and beautiful, she stands there holding this dripping half of herself and, again, reaches for me. With her free hand she touches my thigh, pressing the ring I'd forgotten about, hard against my muscle. I smile. Quickly, she turns to the mirror which now reflects the both of us, takes the half photo, and presses it on the glass. She leaves me.

I turn from the shutting door, back to the mirror, and through the blur of her dripping half-a-face, I stare at the oneness and perfect aloneness of my partial reflection.

Copyright © 2001 Darcy Spidle

Darcy Spidle lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia and studies Philosophy at Mount Saint Vincent University. He plans on publishing his first chapbook of flash fiction, Bullets, in March 2002.