I inherited my grandmother’s Victorian rosewood rococo armoire, ornate with intricate inlay. There is a carving above the doors, a panel depicting lovebirds and draped carved curtain panels over the mirror on the left door like a proscenium framing a stage.
Well oiled, the wood has held up over time. The mirror is one of those ancient silvered mirrors, fly specs and discoloring bubbles at some of the edges. It remains uncracked . . . Clouded but serviceable and dark . . .
I reflect on this mirror.
I mean, it is one of those misty grey December days wedged between Christmas and New Years. One of those days when the dogs won’t go out to play and you think about turning on the lights, but its day. . .
Silent in a silent house, I open my mind. I contemplate . . . and if I hold my head just so, patterns in the looking glass coalesce and swirl, cavort and disappear . . . Undulate, not unlike reeds in the current.
And there . . . At a point that appears deep within the wardrobe, a young woman . . . Perhaps a young . . . definitely woman. She’s looking toward me, but she is looking at her reflection, not at me.
Not Grandma, it’s not her. I’ve seen photos of Grandma both old and young. Charming sepiaed prints with those crinkly yellowed borders. This is someone else . . . That uneasy feeling that this may be a reflection of some future time . . . or past, and she is crying. So very, very sad, she regards herself.
And there is a sound, kinda a fingernail on chalkboard sound. Perhaps a metal coat hanger on an aged steel rail inside the wardrobe. Small distant sound and I am reminded that the Banshee screams for that which is lost . . .
I know her name. I say, “Lavine . . . Don’t cry. It was never my intention to hurt you . . .” and she pauses.
She says, “Bring me to my knees . . .”
Says, “You are my poet. My dark and stormy knight and I want you to stain my hands with your art.”
Says, “Whisper passionate arrows into existence and drive them through my heart. I want to stand behind the door when you enter and linger while you sleep. I want your words to touch me . . . Touch me . . . Touch . . .”
I say, “My Lady, you are asking to hurt you?”
She says, “I ask you to release your dragon of passion that I may know my full measure of Love. Wash me clean in the fires of your desires and I will rise as a Phoenix from the ashes . . .”
She turns slightly. Says, “I would taste a dragon’s love . . .”
I say, “Please don’t ask this of me, I would not, I cannot give you this thing.”
She does not want to hear this. It rips my heart to disappoint her.
She extends her hand toward me through the mirror, it shakes and there seems to be a slight bulge where she is pressing. She says, “Reach for me. . . Pull me into Reality. . .” But I withhold my hand
She moves, searches for . . . what? A portal to this place? She fixes me with her regard, “Open the way . . .” She is desperate now.
I remain silent; this is how I fail her through inaction.
She says, “Do not resist me. . .” then she stops. Her expression is hideous as she turns . . . Turns . . . And she is gone.
Silent in a silent house, I reflect on this mirror, one of those ancient silvered mirrors, fly specs and discoloring bubbles at some of the edges, uncracked . . . Clouded but serviceable. And dark . . .