Looking Through Windows and Mirrors

A woman sits in a parked car, blank faced and nearing the end of her twenties. She can’t stop the car from leaving as she’s not driving. She can’t even stop the window from closing completely as her mother has locked the controls from the driver’s seat. She can stop herself from crying, that was always easy. What she does, is cling to the top of the window to keep the semblance of resistance or regret while she looks back at the house, losing herself in the fog of her breath and body heat. That is Alice.

A man stares at himself in the mirror, feeling his toes grip the carpet through his shoes. It’s imaginary traction but it’s his calming exercise.The breath floods in, then crackles out and he opens the jewellery box. The faded violet colour of the interior seems more mismatched than ever to the embroidered emerald casing, and the ring is limp in the middle, unable to glimmer or even catch any light. He pulls it free, then leans over to the desk drawer and takes out a letter. The Australian Navy letterhead brings a pang to his chest and he places the ring in the centre of the words, “Dishonourable Discharge”, folds the paper up and slips it back in the drawer, dropping the empty box onto the desk. This is Lewis.

When she sees him come to the door, her mother is putting the last bag in the boot of the car. Alice doesn’t move, but her breath is slow, to not fog up the glass completely. Her mother stands at the driverside door and leans her head just underneath the roof,

“Are you going to say goodbye?”

“We already did” says Alice.

“Well… Are you 100% sure about this?”

“It’s for the best” says Alice, her head turned to face the road, but with one eye slightly on her mother, and the other slightly on Lewis.

Lewis stands, rubbing his jaw and mumbling to himself, waiting for it to end,

“It’s for the best. Bullshit. Just go back to crazy Hattie. Let your mum lock you up and keep you numb; forever polluted by that fat, mad woman”

Hattie starts the car and tells Alice to close her window. Alice obliges just in time to see an explosion burst out of the house, followed by a gigantic arm covered in moss and flecked in mildew. Lewis is lifted into the air then crushed to pulp. The road opens up and the car rises into the sky.

“Don’t cry, baby girl” screams Hattie. She then hands over a cupcake from her handbag. “Eat!”

Alice can’t stop it. She cries. She cries and cries. Tears sweeten the cupcake. Alice falls from the sky into a waterfall of her own tears, shrinking in size down to less than a drop. She reaches dry, white land, and sees a baby lying on a stone, covered in blood.

“I’m sorry. It’s for the best” says Alice.


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