We’re all mirrors. All reflecting. All broken in some way, cracked from side to side, the fracture lines bringing with them our distortions. The way we can look at ourselves in what should be absolute clarity and yet somehow get ourselves all wrong. Misunderstand the world behind us, reflected backwards. The world in the mirror. We think we’ve interpreted the reverse impeccably, but we never account for the mirror being broken. What to do with such misapprehension?
The pond is not a pond.
I’ve been looking at it all wrong, deceived by the crack in my mirror.
This doesn’t mean that Commelina isn’t a swan, or that the pond, whatever it truly is, hasn’t become somewhat of a pond over time. If we look at things one way for long enough they take on aspects of the reality we impose upon them, like the box of my mama’s things. In the reality I have imposed upon it, all the answers I seek are within its clutches. That heavy object and the light one falling in its wake. This may not be the case, just as my mama may not be fading. That is my perception of her reality.
She may be experiencing reality very differently.
To her, we may all be fading and she the only thing still solid.
Who is to say whose reality is correct in this case? The simple answer? All of our realities, and perhaps none, because we cannot confirm them. We are the only explorers of our particular experience. Only we know what happens within the liminal spaces at the edges of our perceptions as they, supposedly, intersect with the real. Do we even know what’s real? I would argue we only know what we believe to be real. Any objective understanding of our subjective realities is impossible. Tell me we can place machines on those edges that define what we cannot. How would I respond?
Can a machine you have programmed from within your subjectivity ever be objective?
Maybe it reads what you want it to read, working with all the wrong information you believe to be right, functioning only within the limitations of your broken understanding. Your broken mirror.
To learn you have to let go. Allow yourself to drift.
After the receipt of my mama’s box I waited for a long time in my room, plagued by recurring thoughts of the mirror cracking, until it became unbearable. I decided then that I did not, could not, know. I went to my mama’s room, left the box on her pillow and went down to sit by the pond. Facing fears is the only way to neutralise them.
I sat and watched my Commelina swim to and fro, round and round, until we came to an understanding she and I. She stopped her agitations and crept from the water much like a frightened, bedraggled pup to huddle against my leg. Then we two sat, watching the water, the delicate striation of the crack, its soft rippling like the distant rustle of leaves. And I understood.
‘The pond is not a pond,’ I said to her.
‘So what is it?’ A voice from behind composed of two voices. I know these voices. My twins. My owls. My friends.
‘I don’t know yet,’ I replied. ‘If I’m quiet, it’ll tell me what it is in its own good time.’
‘And your mama’s box?’
‘I left it on her pillow. It belongs to her. I have no right to it.’
A hand on my shoulder, reassuring, re-imposing my place in the world though I didn’t realise how thin it had become until that moment, and they were gone, as if they were shed feathers whisked off by the wind.
I think perhaps they are gone forever. That they were only here for this. What did they call the box?
Commelina and I are still here. We observe the water that is not water, the tide that is a crack, and we wait. We wait to be informed. Maybe whilst I am sat here my mama will open her box, will find what the twins saved of her, and remember herself. I hope so. The box is a gift. Not to me, never to me. I was merely the delivery girl. I find I am at peace with that. I have no connection to this reality, this life. If it is a dream, then I am ready for her to wake up and forget me. If she is my dream, then I want her to remember who she was before I wake up.
And if neither of us is sleeping?
Perhaps we should open our eyes.
© Ren Warom 2014