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A Letter Home -- Untitled #2

J. --
      It's very quiet here. Everyone is asleep. There was the sound of the computer fan humming, but I turned it off. Now there is only me.
      I went into the bathroom and looked in the mirror. I mean I really looked. I didn't think anything, just watched the face. It only took a few seconds before it wasn't me. It was someone I might have known, once. All the features changed. The eyes stared at me, even while I scanned his face. When I moved back, he looked more like me. But up close, there was no resemblence. Sometimes I was scared. I thought this reflection would reach out for me. He looks tougher and meaner than I am. Have you ever seen the reflection of your face in your own eyes? There I was - my distorted image reflected in the eyes of a stranger. Now I see him in all the windows, in the glare of the lights bounced back by the darkness on the other side of the glass. He isn't as scary when he's not as close. But still I came down here to the kitchen where I can't see him in the window from the table. The refrigerator is running (should I try to catch it?) and so the silence isn't so deafening. Upstairs I could feel distant machinary, maybe an airconditioner somewhere, vibrating through the handle of my bedroom door.
      I thought of turning the lights out to escape the reflection that is someone else, but that would be like closing my eyes. He's still there when I open them again. What if, in the darkness, he creeps over, up, and into me, so that he is in here, in the darkness, the sanctuary that is me? What if what is on the outside crawled in here and became the me that's on the inside? What if I was really the man in the mirror?
      I don't like walking this silent apartment at 3am with a stranger following me in every window, doing what I do, looking similar but so different than I. I've had 5 cups of coffee tonight. Maybe it is time to have a glass of milk, a piece of cake, and to go back upstairs and into bed. I haven't slept between my own sheets for three days now. I think it is time. Should I leave the light on, or lie in darkness? It's silent here. He, whether me or not, makes no sound. It is all up to me. I make no sound.
      Yes, it is time for milk, and cake, and sleep. Will I be the same when I wake up again, if I do? I think not. And will I ever be the same as when I left you? Never. Not even when I see you again.
      How loud is your silence? Do you too dream of canoes and theatre lights and antique train tokens? When you lie in the bathtub, curled under the surface, does the water feel light, almost vaporous enough to breathe in and sigh back out? I hope you are well.

                  All my love,

--Z.T. July, 1997