There are days I wake up and I don’t recognize the face in the mirror. I know it’s me, because that’s my apartment behind me. This is my bathroom. This is my mirror. But that face? I don’t know who that is. It’s a surprise face, one that looks vaguely familiar, like she might have been on line in front of me at the supermarket. Or sat across from me on the train.
It’s happened for so many years that I just get dressed and keep moving. I go through my day hoping no one will notice that I’m wearing my clothes, but someone else’s face. And I’m always surprised when no one does.
Most days I wake up and I know it’s me.
And there are days when I wake up and I know it’s me, but my face seems to have been put together by a very young child making his first Mrs. Potato Head, without the cute.
I don’t like those days at all.
Those are the days I shy from cameras like a vampire from sunlight. I don’t want a permanent record of my Mrs. Potato Head face, one that would keep me from pretending that that face is not actually mine.
But the Potato Heads have also been here before. And people don’t shy away from me on the subway, or cross the street, or flinch when I come close. As long as I’m the opener of cat food cans, the cats are willing to act like they don’t notice the difference at all. No one notices, except me.
So, I put it out of mind, avoid mirrors, dark windows, and shiny surfaces, and go to bed hoping my face will be back tomorrow.
photo courtesy of Paik Patyk Paweł, aka Paik666