Don't Look Now

A woman is afraid of something. Something she sees when she looks at herself.

 

     The woman turned the key in the lock opening the door to let her friend Dylan into the small ground floor apartment.  The summer sun begged to be let in through the wide bay windows of the living room but she had purposefully drawn the heavy drapery over them.  “To keep the room cool.” she had excused the odd behavior.   Her friend had known her long enough however to find that no matter the weather those drapes remained firmly shut over the beautiful windows. 

     This lamentably diminished the one real selling point in the entire mid-price range accommodation.  He knew better then to try and force them open though.  In an effort to cheer her up after a disappointing blind date he had thrown the damask print coverings aside to encourage an attitude in like quality to the sun.  A mistake. 

     The action only turned her sullen disposition into that of frenzied anger.  “How dare you, rearrange my place! Close them, Close them now! I have everything the way it is for a reason!” she had yelled at him.  Incapacitated by the sudden outburst of overreaction he did as commanded. 

     Standing frozen he stared in her direction.  She was walking out of the room.  Now down the hall in the direction of her bedroom.  She returned shortly calmed and apologetic.  “I’m sorry but please don’t, just please don’t do that.” 

     He knew his friend had some sort of anxiety issue.  It could be annoying at times but he was willing to put up with her illogical idiosyncrasies.  Ever since her first day working at the call center they had hit it off.  Such kindred spirits were hard to find.  He wasn’t going to let their relationship dissipate on account of something she probably didn’t have much control over. 

     Her ‘issues’ seemed to be getting worse recently though.  Still he goaded her about the odd habits.  Perhaps making light of them would make it easier for her to overcome them he reasoned. 

     “You know if you took that sheet off that mirror it would make this place seem a lot more spacious.  It looks like you’re sitting Shiva in here.”  She only gave him an irritated glance; eyebrows raised mouth in a crooked closed lipped smile. 

     The woman hadn’t experienced the loss of a loved one; in fact she had no knowledge of the Jewish mourning ritual.  “Right, you can’t look in mirrors because you think you’re ugly.”  He continued.

     She couldn’t disagree with him.  She did know that she was an unattractive woman yet that was not the motive for the mirror being covered.  “Can I get you something to drink?  I think there’s some lemonade left in the fridge.” She changed the subject. 

     “Sure, lemonade’d be great.  You know you’d be a lot prettier if you didn’t wear so much make up.” Dylan called after her as she moved to the tiny kitchen around the corner. 

     “Well you would know, wouldn’t you mister fashionista.”  “I do, on the merit that I’m a man.  But you know I did consider going into fashion design before finding my calling in customer service.” His tone was only half joking.  

     “Sure,” she silently replied, “That’s why you wear the same five shirts every week.”  ‘My brother’s the one with the real fashion sense, but I have an eye for colors.  I can just see what will go well together.  The two of us can put together quite an outfit.” Dylan explained.

      He was still speaking so she could hear him in the kitchen but by now she had returned with two glasses of cold lemonade.  His already loud voice was a bit grating at the extraneous volume.  “Says the man who insists that robin’s egg blue is the same color as mauve.” Her sarcastic internal commentary continued. 

     “No stop, just stop it!” She mentally yelled at herself.  She was judging and being judgmental only fueled it, made it grow.  If she kept acting like this she would never get rid of it.  “Is he as gay as you?”  She audibly replied genially. 

     She sat across from him on her year old set of faux leather armchairs. “Decisively not.” He rebutted with a smile before sipping his lemonade. 

     She loved Dylan; he was a better friend than she could have ever asked for.   But after sharing an early shift with him at the call center followed by a movie that he insisted on talking through, and a bus ride in which he incessantly gossiped through, she needed a little break from the man.  They finished their lemonade and to her relief he excused himself not long after; dry cleaning or some such errand.

The End

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