The words of affirmation written across the top of Mindy’s mirror read.
“I don’t know how to tell you this, but I love you.”
The idea was she would stand naked, or as naked as she could stand, in front of the mirror and read the words out loud every day. And most days she managed it. Or at least most of it. Her best day had been after a particularly good night out. She got home a bit drunk, and feeling like a rock star she stripped naked, leaned towards the mirror to really show off her boobs, and said with a wink.
“Babe, I don’t know how to tell you this, but I fucking love you.”
She then kissed the mirror, leaving behind a lipstick lip mark as an autograph, and went to bed.
Her worst day had been after a few extremely stressful weeks at work, in the middle of her period, when she felt bloated, exhausted, and with a temperamental stabbing pain in her abdomen. Sitting in front of the mirror in her softest PJs, crying into her hands she said.
“I don’t want to think anymore. I hate everything right now!’ then looking at the pimple that had come up just above her left eye and yelled, ‘especially you!”
Normally though, she’d be somewhere between panties and business clothes, see the writing, remember why it was there, and take a moment to simply say.
“I love you, babe.”
Then carry on with her morning.
Those were the days that made Mirror Mindy the happiest. She’d watch as her reflected self would walk around the flat losing and finding earrings, keys, her phone twice, and the knot of earphones, or settling into some at-home activity on weekends.
It didn’t really matter to Mirror Mindy, she always enjoyed the company and the kind words. They gave her strength and purpose. And with each utterance of love, she became a little bit more alive. Her personality developed a little bit more. Waiting for the day she could move independently, speak, and be free.
She could feel it, it was coming, and she couldn’t wait to finally meet her friend. Finally, be able to tell her how much she loved her too.
That day came, at a weirdly low point for Mindy. Her favourite drinking buddy with benefits had decided it was time to settle down with someone else, and while she was glad he hadn’t spontaneously confessed his undying love. She still felt a bit rejected and used. Logically it was all fine, but her feelings hurt and it put a grey filter on her mood. So when she looked in the mirror, sighed and said.
“At least I still love you, babe.”
It took her a moment to realise that her reflection wasn’t reflecting her exactly. The smile was a bit deeper, the eyes a bit brighter, and then a tinny scratchy sound whispered from the mirror.
“I love you too, babe.”
A cold shiver ran over Mindy’s body and before she could scream, she heard herself say.
Again, came the tinny scratching sound from the mirror. But this time a bit clearer, a bit more like her voice.
“I love you too.”
The scream found its way out into the world and Mindy dropped to the floor and butt crawled away until her back hit the wall. While the image stood and watched her. Which frightened Mindy far more than the speaking had, and she yelled out.
“What the fuck is going on?”
Mirror Mindy felt confusion for the first time. It wrapped around her and tried to pull her down. It reached up and tried to cover her eyes so that she could only see half of the world.
“Mindy, I love you.”
Came the voice again, and again slightly clearer. Mirror Mindy then shivered, and a sound like shattering glass echoed around the room as she put her hands against her side of the mirror.
Came the voice again, and it sent another cold shiver down the spine of Not Mirror Mindy. For her, the world felt like it was cracking and falling apart around her. Fear had reached into her chest and held her heart in an ice-cold hand. Nightmares were real and the voice in her head wouldn’t stop screaming for her to wake up. But her body just sat paralysed, staring.
Mirror Mindy pushed against the glass, and her expression changed, grew hard and frustrated and suddenly she started beating her hands against the glass, screaming, repeating the word ‘Mindy’. And each time her fist hit the room filled with the sound of breaking glass. As though each hit brought her one layer closer, until the moment that Not Mirror Mindy’s fears came true.
A pale blood-covered hand burst through her mirror followed by her reflection. An exact copy burst out into the world filling the room with sound, and glass. And then there they were face to face like always. Only now everything was different.
Mirror Mindy had been born through kind words of love. Desperate and excited to tell her only person, that she loved her. Not Mirror Mindy had witnessed a nightmare come to life and her mind evaporated, replaced by fear.
“I love you too, babe”
Came the voice again, but now not tinny, not scratchy. Instead, the gentle tone of the girl herself, but from someone else’s mouth. It sent another wave of terror goose bumping its way over Not Mirror Mindy’s body. For a moment longer, she felt the pressure of it, holding her in place, locking all of her muscles. And then it let go, and her body began to shiver and shake and spasm. Her vision blurred and she just saw the shape of a woman, then her own face again, then nothing. Darkness and pain overtook her as her body continued to convulse uncontrollably on the ground. And echoing in the background the words.
“I love you, babe.”
Time felt like it passed slowly, and for a long time before she had a thought again. At first a feeling, an awareness of herself. Then came words, and then light, and finally Not Mirror Mindy remembered herself, and opened her eyes. In front of her stood herself. The perfect copy staring back at her smiling and despite herself, she smiled too. Her copy waved and she waved too. Then her copy said.
“I love you, babe.”
And she said it too. A coldness tried to wash over her, but her skin wouldn’t move. She wanted to turn her head, but couldn’t, until the copy turned her head. She wanted to scream, but no sound left her body, until the copy spoke, “See me later” and she felt her lips move with the copies.
Then they left and Mindy went back into darkness, waiting for her copy, for Mirror Mindy to return to the mirror.