I see my own face reflected.
I am inside my head, talking to myself in an unfamiliar voice. It is my voice, but different.
I am back home from the late night party in ‘Cuckoo’, the bar owned by my friend, Emil. It was a fun time, partying is the essence of youth.
At twenty two, I own the bar ‘Sixes and Sevens’. I have a pretty decent life, or so I think.
I smile a lot, I laugh a lot, I cry a lot and I feel deeply. I love life and people, and I am against conflict of any kind. But sometimes, I drift away from reality. I hear my own voice and I see my own face in the looking glass, but it is not familiar, as if someone had pasted someone else’s face on me while I was asleep.
“We look the same, don’t we?” I say, eyes down-cast.
His voice is exactly like mine. His face is exactly like my own, and he even has the same mole on his nose. And yet, why does he look like a stranger?
“Give me back my body, give me back my face; I want my voice back.” He says, hands slowly reaching to my face. It makes me take a step back.
“Go away.” I let out a feeble sound, throwing up.
I think I’ve had a little too much to drink tonight.
“How did we end up like this?” He says, casually sitting on the sink. I can feel the orbs of his eyes on my back, judging me.
He looks royal, and he seems to be a gentleman. Far, far from who I am or what I am.
“I told you not to go to Emil’s place,” He says again.
I get mad, because I feel accused; like he is blaming me for something that is insignificant. And who was he anyway?
Hanging out with Emil or anyone is a statement that says ‘I’m good’.
I say so to the man inside the glass.
He smirks, and laughs.
“How am I a hypocrite?” I yell at him. He isn’t moved one bit and this makes me feel disconcerted. He doesn’t say a thing, but still has a kind of a defiant look in his eyes. His eyes aren’t exactly like mine, I note, for it is darker and looks clearer.
“Don’t act like a know-it-all!” I hear my voice cracking.
I curse my drink.
“You’re in a mess, Odell,” He begins using his slender fingers to list things, “You have no friends, you’re estranged from your family. And, all you do is drink.” His cold voice echoes in my ears. “You’re making my life a mess, Odell. You’re ruining yourself and me, and you’re blaming me for the mess you created. You are a disgrace, Odell.”
“Shut up!” I say, my lungs filling with rage. I am not you, I want to say. You don’t know me, I want to say. What makes you so entitled to tell me what to do? I want to say.
Hearing the man from inside the looking glass call me pitiful is painful; it makes me feel embarrassed because I do know that he isn’t really making things up.
“You’re a disgrace, Odell.” He still says, smiling an awful smile. “You’re a disgrace to me and yourself. No one wants you here,” his tone is one of finalty; and as if it brought him pleasure, he says, “You’re alone.”
“I’m not alone!” I argue, my eyes filling with tears.
“Yes, you are. Why do you think I’m here, retard?” He laughs, “who else do you have?”
“I-” I stop. I can’t take anyone into confidence. I am well loved and accepted, and yet, I can’t count on anyone just as no one can count on me. Is this karma?
“No, it’s not karma”, his eyes soften a bit, “This is reality. You are alone. Stop fooling yourself.”
“Lies. Lies, you’re feeding me lies!” I say, choking on a desperate laugh.
His voice is still so unfamiliar. It’s my own, but God, it doesn’t belong to me now.
“You fool!” He grins.
I look at my bare feet.
“How did we end up this way, Odell?” He sounds close to tears now as if he wasn’t bullying me just moments ago. “You never liked drinking, did you? Why do you have to try to please every single soul, when all you’ve got is me? Look around, have you but one friend?”
I don’t know why or how, but after a matter of a few minutes, I see the looking glass shattered. All I feel is rage. At him, at myself and then at everything else. Little pieces of glass shimmer in the sink. My knuckles are wounded and there are little bits of glass inside the wounds.
The remainder of the glass are larger shards, my face is now distorted inside the glass.
“You can’t kill me unless you kill yourself.” He says, eyes on me, but not with the intimidating gaze like before.
“I am you.”
His voice is no longer unfamiliar.
Because it is my voice.
“You are me.” I repeat, my voice not the same I am used to hearing usually.
Because it is his voice.
“Give me back my body.”
“Take back your body.”
“Give me back my face.”
“Take back your face.”
“Give me back my voice.”
“Take back your voice.”
“Give me back Odell.”
“Take me, Odell.”
I wake up to the sound of water flowing in the sink.
I glance at my hand, where I expect to see blood. Funny, it isn’t there.
My neck hurts, as it seems I fell asleep in the tub. The white tiled floor feels cold.
I stand up immediately.
The looking glass is alright. Nothing is wrong. There are no bits and shards of broken glass anywhere.
“Was that a dream?” I touch my knuckles and wash my face.
For a moment, I am lost in thoughts.
“It sure didn’t feel like a dream.” I say to my reflection in the mirror.
For a moment I stare at myself.
“Is this really me?” I turn my head to the side.
Pink Floyd blares from the speakers as I dig my pockets to find my cell phone.
“Odell?” I recognise the voice as Emil’s.
“Blast at Littleroot, I’ll pick you up. Nine.” He says.
It is hard to hear him, with the music playing in the background.
“I’m sorry.” I hear myself saying, “I’ve got other affairs to look after. I don’t like”, I pause before deciding, “drinking.”
I hang up.
I don’t want to hear what he has to say.
I ignore all other calls.
I need some good sleep.
“Thank you, Odell.” I start hearing my own unfamiliar voice, just that it is not unfamiliar anymore because it is my voice.