ROSALIND SMITH
email: rosjsmith12@gmail.com
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Fell into a leak

“Trout did another thing which some people might have considered eccentric: he called mirrors leaks. It amused him to pretend that mirrors were holes between two universes.

If he saw a child near a mirror, he might wag his finger at the child warningly, and say with great solemnity, ‘Don’t get too near that leak. You wouldn’t want to wind up in the other universe, would you?’”

— Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions



When I look in the mirror I don’t recognize who’s looking back; I don’t recognize that the reflection is me. In my head, I have a hard time picturing what I look like even though I’ve been me my whole life. There’s this kind of disconnect between the two of us—my consciousness and my physical form. I have this sort of messed-up idea in my mind that I am not my body and that my body is someone else, but there isn’t anyone else it could possibly be.

There’s a woman in the reflection, but she seems so distant. She is contained within a two-dimensional plane, and when I’m not looking at her, she disappears. I know that I take up physical space, but to me that space is shapeless and faceless. My visage exists only in the mirror, and because of this, I am fascinated with looking at myself—with the act of looking at my face and knowing that this is what others see when they look at me, and knowing that I am perceived outside of my own perception.
Sometimes, I wonder if the little girl I was—the one who used to stare at her reflection and wonder—accidentally slipped into a leak without me noticing. Maybe once, after a long look at my reflection, she fell through and decided to stay there. She and I grow at the same time, but she is irreversibly separate from me, locked on the other side of the mirror, and inside another world.