Mirrors Of Home

Entry by: Jim bob

29th September 2017
The Mirror Man

It stood in the hall, set high, the way Alex liked it, reflecting his antiques; pieces his mother had also left him. He thought it needed a polish though, recalling the last time he’d given it a rub with a cloth, fine bees wax.
‘You looking at that fucking mirror again,’ asked Dawn, his girlfriend. She’d been living with him for the past year.
‘So what of it,’ he cried.
She returned to the kitchen, Alex watching her, despising her taunts, her audacity, her clumsy gait.
‘It’s an important thing, you know that,’ he shouted, going to grab some polish and a rag.
‘Oh shut it for fucks sake,’ she replied. She was re-heating the take out neither of them had eaten the previous evening. Chinese.
‘You having a beer or not,’ she asked moments later, then opened one herself and sipped greedily from its lip.
‘In a moment’ came a voice from the hallway
‘Please yer fucking self,’ she muttered, and continued slurping from the can.
‘Tea’ll be up in a moment,' she finished, and scratched away at an itch between her legs.
Alex polished the glass, admiring the shine emerging on the mirror. It appealed to him more these days; helping to remind him of the old times, warm nights, dark winters, childhood giggles. He finished up and went into the kitchen.
‘What’s this,’ he said sitting down ‘It looks like shit,’
‘You shoulda eaten it last night then. We have to pay for this shit as you call it.’
‘Alright, alright,’ he replied getting a Heineken from the fridge. ‘Keep yer fuckin hair on.’
They sat in silence, eating away. At one-point Dawn took a third beer from the fridge, sat down and finished her meal. She released a large belch, and then giggled.
‘That wasn’t too bad eh,’ she said, and blew her nose.
‘It was okay,’ said Alex. He felt a little better now after some food had hit his belly.
‘You’ve ketchup on yer chin,’ said Alex pointing to her mouth.
She ran a finger along the small mess, then licked it.
‘Yep’ she replied then lit a cigarette, inhaled hard and blew, the smoke reaching Alex.
‘When you gonna quit those coffin nails,’ he asked, finishing up the beer.
‘I fuckin aint am I,’ she uttered.
‘When you gonna stop paying all your attention to that stupid fuckin mirror?’ Anyone would think it was all you had. What about me?’ she asked.
‘What about you?’ He got up and took two beers from the chiller and handed one to her.
In the background the six o clock news played out; Alastair Stewart exercising stern, serious, informative rhetoric. Rain pelted against the kitchen window. A police siren whizzed away in the distance along with rush hour congestion along their road, snapping at the front door.
‘You and your fuckin mirror. You’re a real asshole Alex,' she yelled, dropping her Lambert in one of the empty Heineken cans.
‘Right we need to talk,’ he said, banging his fist on the table hard enough for one of the rickety legs to almost give way.
‘What about, another fucking lecture from the mirror man I suppose’
‘Us for Christ sake. ‘he said ignoring her remarks, that were starting to concern him.
‘If you say so, mirror man,’ said Dawn and finished her beer. ‘Let’s go down the Fox then, we’re out of lager anyway. We can talk there.’
They left the council flat by the rear of the building; the front door still had a broken lock after Dawn had forced her way in one late night several days ago. A wooden wedge securing it for now. Rain fell against them as they hurried in to the pub. Pool balls clattered as merry patrons played away to sounds of the nineties with raucous shouts of ‘asshole’ and ‘twat’ making up energetic chatter.
They sat with pints at their usual corner table, nightly table. A bag of scratchings lay unopened.
‘It’s that fucking mirror of yours, that’s the cause of all this,’
‘I don’t think so, Dawn. It means a lot to me, you just don’t see it.’
‘If you say so Mr mirror man,’ she replied ignoring his remark. Then she cackled.
Alex opened the scratchings.
‘I don’t understand you. I mean look at the state of you. Your fuckin teeth for one thing. Half of them are falling out.’
‘Well if you got off your fuckin ass and got a job then I could do something about them eh,’ she wailed.
‘Oh come on Dawn you know I can’t work. The Doc said so. We’ve been through all this.’
‘Get the beers in Alex before I clobber you,’ She said pushing her empty glass across the table.
‘When I return were going to have this out proper, Dawn,’
A few patrons looked his way at the bar. Alex ignored comments that he ought to find another bird, or that he could do better for himself with a nicer bit of stuff. He just smiled at them, and ordered two more pints. He also ordered a double scotch which he necked before returning to his table, as it aided in calming the challenging inferno in his head.
It helped. For a bit.
‘Whaddya mean I can get a job, Dawn. You fuckin know I can’t.’ he said, continuing the discussion. He placed the pints down, both of them overflowing from the unsteady table wobble.
‘Sure you can. You can get out and about can’t you? So why can’t you work?’
‘Not yet it’s too soon. Ever since Afghanistan, you know that.’
More of the beer spilled as she brought it to her mouth, the chilled liquid dripping down her orange frock, already stained with dried specks of Chinese take-away.
‘Okay Ok, you made yer point,’ she fired.
‘And the mirror helps, you fuckin know that, don’t you, You FUCKING KNOW THAT YOU STUPID FUCKIN BITCH,’ he bellowed
Dawn silenced, several pairs of surprised, intoxicated eyes looked across, and the pub cat- a shabby grey overweight thing- shot away from his bowl of food, out the door.
‘Listen to me, Dawn,’ said Alex up close, perspiring. ‘The mirror helps me get things back. It’s just started to work after all this time. Starting to remember my past, my mum, my dad. Can’t you see that. Why can’t you see that,’ he begged.
He grabbed her hand, squeezed it. It felt warm and sticky in his. He looked at her, wanting to despise her, wanting to hate her, but couldn’t
‘I don’t know’ she muttered through spittle that had formed on her lips
‘I don’t know, Alex.’ She said again. ‘I’m a pain aint I. A fuckin pain.’
‘At the best of times yeah, I’ll say,’
He drained a good half of the pint, huddled up to Dawn and put his arm round her. She had started to cry.
‘You knew what happened to me out there, didn’t you? I told all when we got together. Its real important I start to remember stuff.’
‘I’m sorry Alex,’ she burst through tears. ‘I just get so sad and wasty.’
‘Listen, I think you should see the Doc again’
She looked at him. Alex thought her face was badly off colour.
‘Promise me you’ll go see him tomorrow,’
‘I’m always angry at you. I don’t know why,’ she said, disregarding his request, tears flowing. She took a sip of beer.
‘See the doc tomorrow, he’ll help.’ Alex knew she was quite drunk. He also knew they’d both been hitting it hard recently, but realised his woman needed help, again
‘There’s anger rising in me all the time. I get really sca…'
‘Shh’ said Alex., interrupting. ‘Don’t worry. I’ll go with you tomorrow,’
‘Will you?’ she asked
‘Course I will,’ He finished up his beer, and they went outside so she could smoke. Unsteady on her feet, but nevertheless with-it, she lit up.
‘Don’t let them take me back to that place, Alex,’ she wailed. ‘I don’t wanna go back that fucking place,’
‘You’re not as irrational as you were before, okay. I don’t think they’ll do that,’ he said.
The November rain chilled them. Her hair fell against her eyes and she swept it back.
‘Come on let’s get back in for one more,’
The grey shabby cat was back in the corner of the room, eating a few crisps off the floor. A scent of marijuana drifted in from the rear door leading to the toilets. A man wearing glasses dropped his pint, the shatter of glass sending up a wave of cheers from the mass. Alex brought two large whiskies to their table.
‘Drink this Dawn, then we’re going home,’
‘I just dont wanna be locked up again,’ she said.
‘Your ABH is spent, love. You haven’t done anything since, so I don’t think they’ll do that.
But you are bubbling over again.'
She downed the whisky
‘Lets go home. We can get those teeth of yours sorted too,’
‘Oh fuck off,’ she said, managing a smile.
‘Well, get that lock fixed, cheeky’ she replied.
‘The one you bust, ok I will.’
They went home.