This is an experiment in something I've never tried before:
After the evening jog, I was too sweaty to climb into bed for the evening. My legs were burning as I tried pushing my pace, but it was such a pretty night, I couldn’t hold back. It was warmer than what it should be for February, and the full moon was so beautiful. Why run on a treadmill at the campus recreation center when I could enjoy the outdoors?
I wiped the steam from the bathroom mirror with a towel, leaving droplets of water on its surface. It took a few passes, but I finally had it clear enough to see myself for shaving. Dark stubble on my cheeks and a goatee with a mixture of white, black, and dark brown. There was a time it was so black it had tints of blue, but those days were long passed. The Cherokee and the Irish in my blood had warred, and the Cherokee was winning. My skin is still fair, but the hair was gradually transitioning from dark to white, skipping grey in its entirety.
“What color are your eyes tonight?”
It was an old game, one that had begun with an ex-boyfriend. Curt loved looking each day to see what color my eyes were. I took for granted the color, but he marveled that they were never the say color two days in a row.
As I peered closer, I could make out a ring of deep blue around the outside. From there, the blue transitioned gradually to a bluish-green and finally green before they hit a ring of golden brown. The hazel in my eyes was smaller this evening, but the green was more vibrant than the night before.
“Aaaahhh. Keep wishing, Michael.” I had wished. I was envious of people with those beautiful, strong colors, not the hodge podge I had.
“There it is again.” I could feel the melancholy seeping in. It wasn’t bad. It was just a case of missing something, a yearning for something I couldn’t find words for, but it was there nonetheless.
I kept searching into those eyes, looking for an answer, and I found myself slipping inside, until the mirror twisted in front of me.
Alice, oh Alice, did I wander into your looking glass? The world snapped into focus, and I beheld a pair of the greenest eyes I had ever seen, eyes full of life, full of joy, full of laughter. You’re not human. I should be alarmed, but it’s like I know you, have known you, all of my life. I want to touch your fur, to run my fingers through it.
“Where am I?” I ask, but you can’t seem to hear me. I look around, and I’m somewhere I’ve never been. You walk past me, and I can smell the scent of evergreen from you. I reach out touch you, and in that moment, my reality explodes.
I look through your eyes. I feel through your heart. I smell through your nose. I touch through your fingers.
I see us sitting at a university, and I feel your heart race as he walks by, carrying his books, chatting with friends and oblivious to how you try to hide your gazes.
Years pass in seconds, and I see the hard work, the heartaches, the good times and the bad times, as the two of you build something strong and lasting. I see the things you hide in your heart.
My stomach growls at the smells of your favorite Italian restaurant.
My heart soars as you ride beside him in the muscle car, the roar of the engine as you drive from the city to the countryside.
My muscles burn as you run and exercise together.
I watch in mute fascination as you twirl your fingers through the red curls draped along his forehead and trace the outline of his spiral horns.
I think for a moment I should be shocked that you’re not human. You look like a werewolf to me, and he’s a… wereram? Do those exist? I don’t know. As bizarre as the scenes are that I’m looking at, I can’t turn away. They feel more real and more right to me than anything I’ve ever experienced in my life.
I feel the deftness in your fingers as you cook, and I feel the slight twist as you lean back. He was already anticipating your movements, turning from his own cutting board to meet you in the middle, kissing you quickly and lovingly.
I am losing myself in your memories. I am losing myself in your feelings. I know your names. I know your deepest secrets. I understand a love I’ve never experienced before and want it to the depths of my soul. I would die for this.
This. Feels. Right.
I want to stay here forever, in a place I would have never dreamed existing, where the rules of reality are so different.
Alice, keep the Cheshire Cat. I will stay with the Mad Hatter at the Tea Party.
You look at me and smile, a smile so beautiful, and pull us close. I close my eyes to savor your touch, but something is wrong. I open my eyes.
I’m staring into my mirror again.
The magic is gone.
“No, no, no, no, no, no, no,” I whisper frantically. My blood is pounding in my ears, and I can feel my heart hammering in my chest with emotion. I’m clawing at the mirror, silently praying to whatever god will listen to let me go back.
Red. Blood red rage. I can’t even see through it, but I hear the shattering sound. I know what’s happened. I don’t even look at my hand to see the slices from the glass, and I make no attempt to stop any blood from flowing. I can hear the pieces tumbling to the counter. I don’t open my eyes.
I walk across the hall, emotions at war but body numb. I can feel my gut clenching, and I curl into a ball attempting to stave it off. I can’t, though. It’s too late.
I’m too far gone.
Those eyes of green….
My hands and feet feel numb, and I do the one thing I can do.
Staring into those eyes of blue….
As I begin to sob and hyperventilate, I grab my thickest pillow and bury my face in it. I scream. I scream and muffle myself so no one can hear. I scream until my throat burns. I scream until I can’t get breath. I scream as my entire body spasms with a pain I’ve never felt before. I scream until there’s nothing left.
I lie on my bed as the emotions pass. Am I losing my mind? Did I have a psychotic episode? I don’t know. There’s a hole now, memories that I can see and feel in my mind and heart, and I know it was real.
I can feel the pieces inside of me, wanting to connect back together.
I just have to find my way back to them.