This story was written for the Reedsy contest "Dear Diary".
More specifically in the context of the prompt: "In the form of diary/ journal entries, write about someone who's just experienced a big 'first'."
7:30 AM; report from the mirror in the bathroom
He stands in front of me every day, but there's no sign of recognition from his part anymore. He has been like this since a couple of weeks now.
I show him as I see him: an unshaven man who has just stumbled out of his bed, but who is still tired —so very tired. He stares at me with eyes that look right through me. It’s clear that he has lost all interest in himself. I wonder why he keeps looking at me; maybe it’s merely out of habit.
Every move he makes is done on automatic pilot. He rubs his eyes and splashes a handful of water in his face, a futile attempt to wake up —to really wake up— from his nightmare.
He brushes his teeth with his electric toothbrush. He can do that with his eyes closed; half a minute for every quarter of his mouth —as advised by 99% of all dentists. Even with everything that is going on in his life, he can’t help thinking of that silly commercial every time he’s going through the routine. He slurps a sip of water from the faucet to rinse his mouth. He no longer uses a glass. It doesn’t matter if he spills toothpaste on his already stained undershirt. There’s no one but me to notice anyway.
He rubs his chin as if it were a blunt rasp. Without giving me another look, he decides he can go on without shaving for yet another day. I’m sad to see him this way.
Up until a few weeks ago, he always looked me straight in the eyes. He used to be a handsome, well-groomed man with sparkles of fun in his eyes and a big smile on his face, especially when that beautiful young woman stood beside him.
Her toothbrush and some of her skincare products are still there, but I haven't seen her in a long time. I wonder where she went. When will she be back? Will she ever come back?
8:00 AM; report from the mirror in the kitchen
The first cut is the deepest. I'm broken, but I’m still here. He hasn’t found the time or the energy to replace me yet. I look at him through my splintered shards. His hair looks as if it hasn’t seen a comb in a week, but he just doesn’t care. He doesn’t worry about his appearance anymore. Why would he?
The fact that I’m shattered, isn’t the only reason why the world outside looks fragmented. The kitchen isn’t the same as before. There used to be two cups on the table. She dodged the first one when he threw it at her. I took the blow; that’s how I got broken. The second cup was a direct hit and lost its ear when it bumped off her belly. That’s the cup he’s presently using for his daily dose of coffee. I can see that it doesn't taste the way it used to taste now that she's no longer brewing it.
He didn't go after her when she left. We were all devastated when she told him where she had spent the night —and with whom. Since that day, we share our grief in silence.
Every new morning looks like the previous one. If only she came back. Life would be so much better.
8:30 AM; report from the mirror in the hall
I want to tell him to take better care of himself. This is already the third day in a row that he leaves the house with the same shirt. That stain on his sleeve won't wash itself out. His coat hangs on the rack, unused. Doesn't he notice it's getting colder outside? And why doesn’t he look at me anymore to see if his collar is straight and his hair is somewhat presentable?
Her coats are all gone. He put them in a large garbage bag that stood in the hall for a week, along with a handful of boxes stuffed with other things she hoarded in the house he considered to be their home. When she called him, he noticed that she had degraded “their home” to “his house”. I saw him cry after her call.
The next day, she came to collect the stuff piled up in the hall while her new friend watched them from his car.
"You look tired," she said when he handed her the last box.
He didn’t reply.
"He's been looking tired all week," I wanted to tell her, but I didn’t say a word. Being a mirror, I don’t tell anyone anything, I only show people what I see.
Right now, I see that he looks even more tired than before. I wonder if she realizes how bad things have been for him since she left him. How could she do this to him?
1:30 AM; report from the mirror in the bedroom
He only looks at me when he needs to be in his wardrobe —that doesn’t happen much anymore now that she’s no longer here. I can’t remember when he last changed clothes.
Every night he stumbles into the room like a zombie. He throws his socks, pants and shirt in the corner of the room. He doesn’t bother taking off his underwear. He drops himself on the bed —completely exhausted. He barely slept the first days after she disappeared from his bedroom, but nowadays, he sleeps like a log. I guess that’s because he pours himself full of alcohol before he comes upstairs. He starts snoring the moment he hits the sack.
He still sleeps on the same side. I see his arm wander to her side at night. He's probably dreaming she’s still lying next to him, but there’s no one there to hold onto anymore. I haven't seen her since he spent that first night alone, a couple of weeks ago.
When the alarm goes off in the morning, he wonders why he should bother getting up. He looks more miserable every day. I wonder what she’d say if she could see him now. I wonder if she’s happy with what she has done.
6:00 AM; mirror intervention
This can’t go on like this. We’ve come to a decision. It was a unanimous vote. All mirrors were in favor of bringing her back.
When he gets up today, he’ll see her brushing her teeth next to him in the bathroom. He'll still have to brew his own coffee, but he won’t have breakfast alone today; we’ll show her in the broken kitchen mirror. Before he goes out today, we’ll have her point at his coat and show him how to put his collar straight. He won’t have to sleep alone tonight. She’ll be back on his side when he looks in the wardrobe mirror.
Then we'll make him see that she might not be the one for him. We'll do it gently, give him all the time he needs to heal from that first cut. Let's make this work!
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