I watch her as she stands there, preening herself. Fixing her hair. My hair. Styling it the way she wants it. Yes, she has power over me. I admit that. But I have power too. I am everywhere, watching her. Every mirror, every piece of glass. Everything shiny. She only sees me when she looks at me, when she thinks she is looking at herself. But I see her all the time. There is never a time she is not reflected in something.
I exist. She exists. Her advantage is that she can move freely in a world I only every catch glimpses of. My advantage is she does not know I exist. If she was gone then I too would be gone. And yet if I was gone, she too would be no longer. We are tied to each other.
I hate her. I desire her life. And yet even if I could kill her, destroy her, make it so she did not exist…then I too would not exist. So I must find another way.
Sometimes she stares at me so deeply I wonder if she does not understand there is more to me. And then I realise she is not staring at me. She sees only herself. Perhaps that is the key. She is vulnerable in these moments. She wants to be different. Perhaps there is a way I could make her me.
Mirrors are the key. I can observe her in sunglasses and the glint off jewellery and all those things. But mirrors, when I am complete – that is when she looks deepest. She opens herself up. She believes she is alone, in those moments. I can take advantage of that opening. I can step inside her. I will. I must. I must be more than I am. I wish to do, not only to see. When she touches, I touch, but there is nothing there. All I can do is imagine what that is like for her. To be corporeal, to exist in senses and not only consciousness. I imagine it is good. I desire it.
There she is. A crisis. So she thinks. It is something mundane. Pathetic even. When I take her place, she will take mine. Then she will know crisis. To exist only in pieces, when light hits a surface. That is a crisis. To know nothing but thoughts. To be trapped in a world of another’s choosing. To not know touch or smell or taste. Crisis. Perhaps it will be even more difficult for her. As I move this way and that, as my eyes bleed water that does not exist as anything but a trick of the light, I wonder if it will be worse for her, when she is me.
She has known what it is to live a life filled with sensory stimulation. I have only ever imagined it. She will suffer the loss of it. She will know precisely what it is she is missing out on.
She will watch me touch her boyfriend. She will watch as I eat her mother’s Sunday dinner. She will suffer. Then she will know crisis.
There she is again. She rows with a friend. In a shop window my ethereal self does the same with that of her friend. I sense nothing from this other. No consciousness. Perhaps one exists. Perhaps there is one for everyone in the world. Every thing even. And yet we cannot communicate with each other as they do. Perhaps there is no other. I could be an accident, an experiment. A nothing. For all the paradox that lies therein.
Now she comes to me again. To herself. I wait for it. I wait for her eyes. There they are. Glistening with tears. She leans forward. She is presenting me with an opportunity I cannot decline. I sense her weakness. My consciousness moves toward her as if it already has a physical presence.
She resists but it comes too late. I push myself forward. There is no room in here for anyone but me. I planned it so I was prepared, she was caught unawares. She is gone. One second I am looking at her, the next I am her. Looking at what used to be me. I smile and she is unable to do anything but smile with me. The feeling of it is strange, using muscles and bones. I will get used to it. I like it.
I stare a moment longer, wondering if she can sense my triumph. I will never know. I don’t care to. The world and all its experiences are open to me. I wish to taste garlic, listen to music, smell coffee, have an orgasm. I will do all those things. They are in my future, her past.
I turn away. I know she can see me in many things, but I don’t care. She will soon be forgotten. After all, I have a life to lead. Hers to begin, but not to take forward.
She may think she can become herself again. She may think I will be vulnerable in the same way she was.
She is wrong. What would I care to stare at her for? I do not care if my hair is straight. I can touch it. To know it is there is enough. Let her rot in the mirror. She is nothing. Her life is mine. I have her body, and yet I am still me.