It was just another day. Staring at the wall, the stall doors, the tile floor. Watching them coming in, doing their makeup, fluffing their hair, swinging the door open and shut. Watching the sun sink, turning my silent comrades reflective, bright oranges and pinks. Seeing shadows slide across the bathroom, calling greetings to them as I waited for one special dusk shadow.
“Hey” My voice echoed, sounding like it could reach the rest of the school. I knew they couldn´t hear me. Even the girls who went in and out all day couldn´t, even if they came right up to me to see their reflection.
It was tough, being an unimportant mirror in the girls´ bathroom. My only friend was a shadow, who visited every night. They, at least, understood.
After my greeting, I saw a shadow shift, an especially familiar one. I knew they had come, right on schedule as always. They would never talk back, only listen. I told them about the day, described the sunset, feeling their wistfulness and wonder engulf me. We ended with a quiet closing nod, a brief, dark smile, as dawn approached.
The next day, I saw two girls come in. They were arguing about something. One girl, with tears streaming down her face, pushed the other. Then the other´s fists came down. The two locked in a fistfight, lashing out wildly. They screamed and cried out, growing unnervingly close to me. They couldn’t hear my scream as they hit me, shattering me into a million tiny, sharp pieces.
“Are you sure? Only that much?”
“It’s all that can be saved.”
“Damn. Well, I’ll just toss the rest into the incinerator.”
White-hot pain seared into me. I couldn’t think, only scream and cry noiselessly as I lost myself.
I felt a tiny, tiny piece of myself come back into consciousness, relieved of the heat. I could think, could feel again. My remaining shard was reshaped, molded into a perfect little silver bead. It hurt when they drilled straight through me, strung me on onto a string, made me a necklace; although the pain was lesser than before.
I was put into a small, cotton-lined black box, and enclosed in darkness as the lid came down.
“Oh, Jeannie, it’s so lovely! Thank you!”
“You’re welcome, Linnea. Here, put it on.”
I had been taken out of the box. Draped, clasped, and strung around a woman’s neck. I guessed she was Linnea. She smiled, a sweet, small smile, as she looked at herself in the mirror. I saw she was in a wheelchair, with no hair upon her head, dressed in a white hospital gown, another woman behind her. Linnea looked so happy. I felt… amazing. I… had I made her so happy? As… a gift? A trinket? It didn’t matter. I wasn’t a mirror anymore. I was… I felt more loved than ever.
“How do I look?”
She sounded so happy. Those few sentences they exchanged… they were about me. How pretty I was, how I made someone happy.
How I now had a purpose.
Linnea went to sleep with me around her neck every night, for many nights.
Linnea had started using crutches, with her friend Jeannie’s help. But one day, when she was trying to use them on her own, she fell down the stairs.
“Jeannie!” she screamed. Jeannie rushed in from the living room, just in time to catch Linnea from hitting her head on a cabinet’s mantelpiece. I bounced along, tied on the string until it snapped. I broke off, rolling under the cabinet. I heard Linnea sobbing.
“Jeannie, Jeannie! My necklace!”
“It’s okay, Linnea, we have to get you to the hospital!”
Moments later, a wailing ambulance arrived. They drove away a few minutes later, the door slamming dust into my face. I sat there until shadows slanted in from the windows.
“S-Shadows?” I ventured, although I was sure they wouldn’t answer. I knew I was far from their window. I was startled as I heard a reply.
Well, not really a reply, just a silvery, small laugh, a whispering sigh. Maybe it was my imagination, but I thought I saw the shadows shift.