(Runner Up in CFW Event #16)
Charlie stared at the reflection in the mirror that had thrown the words at him with such hate he felt like he’d been punched in the gut.
The reflection was ugly in the chipped and broken mirror, the glass dusty and rust-patched.
“You’re trash,” the reflection spat, “You always have been and you always will be.”
Wetness stung at Charlie’s eyes and he swallowed hard.
It was true.
“Go on, shoot up. You know you want to,” the voice prodded.
Charlie glanced at the full syringe on the table beside him.
It promised temporary relief, perhaps death.
He’d promised himself he wouldn’t do it anymore.
Then again, he’d always been his own worst enemy.
“Go on, do it,” his reflection urged, “Take a break from this waking nightmare you call a life.”
Charlie stepped toward the table, reached for the needle.
Then with a sharp inhalation and a quick shake of his head, he yelled, “NO!”
He grabbed the table with both hands and threw it violently toward the wall.
It crashed into the mirror and the table landed on the floor amidst the shattered fragments of glass.
Charlie didn’t stick around long enough to more than vaguely register this fact.
As soon as he heard the shattering sound of glass and the thud of the table hitting the floor, he spun around and ran out the door like the devil was chasing him.
Maybe he was.
He ran down a labyrinth of concrete halls, praying for deliverance.
Then he rounded a corner and found a window at the end of the hall, sunlight streaming through the glass in a golden mist.
A white-robed man stood in front of it, holding out a square, gold-framed mirror.
Charlie slowly moved toward it until he stood face to face with a new reflection.
The reflection not of what he was or had been, but the reflection of what he could be.
“You’re priceless,” it said, “You’re life is sacred. You’re someone and you’re loved with unimaginable love by the God who created you, created you for a purpose to fill a place in this world that only you can. Leave your old reflection behind, continuing to look at it will only drag you down, corrupt the man you were meant to be. Accept the new reflection the Lord offers you. You have a life full of meaning and greatness ahead of you.”
“I’m not cut out for greatness,” Charlie answered as tears welled up in his eyes.
“No one is,” the reflection said, “You’re not ready now, but you will be…once you accept the new reflection. Then you’ll be equipped with the power of the Lord. Will you take it?”
“Just…take it? It can’t be that simple, can it?”
“It’s always that simple.”
Charlie stared for several long moments.
Then finally he reached out and touched the glass.
In an instant he was transformed—a new man—no longer bound by the ugliness of the reflection in the broken mirror.
© Whitney L. Schwartz