The most horrifying feeling in the world has to be that of looking in a mirror late at night and expecting to see a face behind you. I mean, I guess the most horrifying would be actually seeing one, but let’s hope that never happens. Our bathroom has an entire wall that’s one big mirror, so every time I get up to pee in the night, I have to keep my eyes downcast, as though the darkness had reduced me to a demure servant girl, cowering in the presence of her lord.
(I’m re-watching Downton Abbey right now, so everything I think comes out in the voice and vocabulary of the housekeeper, Mrs. Hughes. Sorry/not sorry.)
Why does it feel like a horrible surprise lurks around the corner at night? Why in a mirror? There must be some Psych 101 reason that seeing one’s own likeness/surroundings in reverse is disorienting, but what it makes me think of is the cultures who believe that having your picture taken steals a piece of your soul. What if mirrors are like that, and we’ve been walking by them our whole lives? Not to mention the fact that social media/selfie addiction does sometimes feel like a soul-stealing enterprise, but at least it doesn’t spook me out at night.
Anyway, obviously Dave is out of town, and I’m more than usually inclined to feel creepy feelings. Last time I was at a residency, I had to walk down a long hallway to get to the bathroom, including turning a corner; the ceilings in the house were high, and the spacious rooms were full of large art pieces: vases big enough to hide a child in, paintings just abstract enough to seem menacing after dark. I also had a lot of disturbing nightmares there, so I was always afraid to get up in the night, and relatively speaking, being home with one’s dog is a cozy proposition.
Sweet dreams, friends. I have zero advice to follow this up with, although if you’re less neurotic about the dark than me, I suppose I offer my hearty congratulations.