This post is written in response to this week’s Weekly Writing Challenge: That’s Absurd. The challenge asks us us to incorporate something absurd or surreal into our post.
I hurry along the street, shopping bags bouncing off the sides of my legs. I only need one last thing for tomorrow’s party, and I cannot afford to miss the closing time of the shop. If my 7 year-old-to-be asked for Hello Kitty tableware for the big celebration, there is no way I am showing up at home with Disney Princess tableware. I would tumble far down on the scale of successfull motherhood in my children’s minds. And those are the minds that really matter.
Around me the crowds are thinning as shops close for the day. Cars and buses throw dirty water onto the sidewalk as they bounce through potholes filled by an afternoon shower. By now the grey clouds are dispersing, but night advances at a brisk pace giving no chance for the sun to show itself. After a long week at work I am exhausted and in no shape to organise a birthday party, let alone to supervise 30 children. Luckily a night of sleep is wedged between the current moment and that nightmare.
I close my eyes for a second in mid-walk and open them only to find myself looking at myself. A woman who is undoubtedly me is approaching from the opposite direction. My hair, my face, my jacket. I can even see the scratch on my chin from an unfortunate encounter with a kitten last week. For a strange moment I observe myself and am struck by how others must see me. Gone is the slim beautiful woman I still imagine myself to be. Welcome the plump worn-out mother of three. Strange how even the mirror has fooled me all these years.
Despite the strangeness of the situation I do not stop walking. It is as if my body refuses to believe what my mind is perceiving and keeps on going as if nothing has happened. Step by step we close in on each other, neither of us hesitating. What I am seeing cannot be real and hence there is no danger of a collision.
10 metres apart
5 metres apart
2 metres apart
1 metre apart
A cold sensation envelopes my body as I enter. Cold but oddly welcoming. Tingles creep up my spine like champagne bubbles. The world is made up of slivers of dreams and hopes that float like feathers. Life is everywhere and everything. I am me, but also something else. I recognise myself.
I walk a few steps before I stop.
I turn around.
The street behind me is empty, except for a couple walking slowly hand in hand.
I shake myself, pretending the incident can be shrugged off like a wayward twig on my jacket. I am tired, I decide. There is nothing more to it.
I continue towards the shop that sells the Hello Kitty items I need. I arrive just in time. As I stretch my hand to open the door I see myself mirrored in its glass surface. A plump worn-out mother of three.