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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Reflected Destinies by Sherry Gloag

Have you ever had one of those days when you wake up feeling edgy for no apparent reason? Well, today promised to be one of those days, and it was only a few minutes old.

I fell off the bed when I leaned over for my slippers and my cheek caught the edge of the bedside table. Guess that will save on makeup for a few days. Hey, girls! Try the new all-over multicolored look. It’s cheaper than cosmetics. Then I tripped on the bathmat which had slipped off the edge of the bath. If I’d had a hangover I’d understand, but sadly ‘boringly-stone-cold-sober’ described me perfectly. Now I had a matching bruise on the other cheek. It seemed my destiny called for matching color co-ordinates.

I wouldn’t mind, but a legion of panel-beaters now resided inside my head. Coffee! I needed a large mug of strong black coffee. Carefully I dabbed my face dry then retreated to the bedroom to stand in front of the full length mirror. I tried to remember the last time I truly looked at myself and failed. What did it matter if another man never ran his fingers through my long mousy-brown hair, or circled his hands round my slender waist?

"You are wrong, Amor."

What? Swiftly I scanned the room, relieved to find it empty of mysterious intruders. Where had the voice come from? I closed my eyes, counted to ten then opened them again. Another image reflected back from the mirror! Shock dropped my jaw to my chin.

A man!

A man with dark wavy hair that fell, in joyful abandon, to his shoulders; deep brown eyes, that reminded me of molten chocolate, smiled at me and his mouth grinned in challenge. Bronzed hands, large and strong-looking, wrapped themselves around my waist and his chin rested on my shoulders.

"See? You are wrong, and by tonight you will acknowledge it to be so."

Before I could utter a denial, he stepped back, waved and vanished into thin air.

"I’m going mad." The welcome sound of my own voice soothed my nerves. I never remembered my dreams, but surely I’d just experienced what people-in-the-know called ‘lucid dreaming.’ I sure hoped so; otherwise I might just be right about the madness bit.

Friends accused me of cowardice for not jumping back into the game after my husband demanded a divorce. "I need an heir." He didn’t mince his words. And I didn’t reveal how worthless he made me feel.

The sound of a deep sigh filled the room and rescued me from bad memories. But not my sigh! My glance shot back to the mirror. Weird! A man talking in the mirror, and now heavy breathing!

No improvement in the morning, then.

And no man smiling at me from the mirror with his arms wrapped around my waist.

Perhaps my friends were right, but they didn’t know it all. I stared at the empty feminine shell reflecting back at me. Dark eyes, bleak with physical and emotional pain, reminded me of two lumps of coal in a snowdrift. Where had the dismal introspection come from? I never allowed this kind of negativity to influence my thoughts. But this morning they refused to butt out.

Like polished obsidian, my reflected eyes began to twinkle in anticipation. Nothing could replace my child, but its memory lived on in the children I worked with.

I should dress for work, but my feet refused to move. My job with educationally challenged children filled my days and soul with joy. They gave all of themselves with an eagerness to please that lightened your bleakest moments. Sure sometimes a child failed to arrive. When that happened they left a gap, until you remembered the joy they’d bestowed, and another child arrived, adding more joy to your memory bank.

I studied my image in the full-length mirror once more, and surveyed the dark bruising on my cheeks. Shock had addled my brain, I decided. At least I hoped it was, or I was losing my marbles. Yes, that had to be the answer, I comforted myself. Otherwise I’d have remembered earlier, that today, Saturday, the children’s centre remained firmly closed and I’d agreed to stand in for my friend at the village garden fete. No way would some strange image of a man manage to get his hands on my waist while I served tea and crumpets from behind the long and wide trestles in the tea-tent this afternoon. My laughter filled the room at the thought and released me from my pensive thoughts and the strange connection with the mirror.

Swiftly I donned hip-hugging jeans, thick socks and sturdy shoes before searching for my favorite fire-engine-red silk t-shirt and faded denim jacket. With matching bruises, make-up would be a wasted effort so I compensated by grabbing my brush and stroking it through my hair for an extra two minutes. A quick check in the full length mirror, a visit to the kitchen for that strong black coffee, and I’d be on my way.

I sold entry tickets during the morning, and judging by the numbers, this year’s fete promised to exceed last year’s success. My gaze shifted to the tea-tent. A man with dark wavy hair that fell, in joyful abandon, to his shoulders, stood near the entrance. Then he turned.

Energy zipped through my veins, robbing my lungs of breath.

"You need a break." The organizer appeared from nowhere and, unknowingly, propelled me towards my waiting stranger.

He held out his hand. I studied his smiling, molten-chocolate eyes, filled with unspoken questions, before laying my hand in his.

"I like my coffee, black, no sugar." Just as it had earlier this morning, his voice penetrated my barriers and infiltrated my soul. He slung one arm around my waist and guided me into the tent.

"You see?" He laughed. "We fit perfectly."

About the Author: Sherry Gloag enjoys reading and is an aspiring writer of contemporary romances, because she like stories with a happy ending. She lives in the East of England, where, like those who may enjoy watching the "Changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace", she enjoys watching the changing of the seasons in the countryside.


Donna B said...


Sherry Gloag said...

I bit late, I know, but thanks Donna :-)