• Jeff South

Blogtober 2021: Moon & Gold

WORK FROM HOME, DAYS 30 & 31


I stand at the bathroom mirror staring at my reflection as if I were waiting to transform into a werewolf during a full moon. My pulse races and my head pounds. This is the part where I should just leave. Walk out the door. Spend the night in a hotel. Poltergeists follow people, though, so that seems a pretty futile option. I pace in front of the counter, rubbing my throbbing temples. Out of the peripheral of my right eye, I notice my reflection is not pacing with me. In fact, it is standing still with a menacing grin on its face. Other than that, the face is normal. It is mine. Yet, it seems to exist separate from me in another dimension inside the mirror.


"I'm the you that you hate," the reflection hisses, just like the voice told me in the bedroom.


"I don't hate myself," I whimper.


"Yes, you do. And I am that hate. I'm every mistake you ever made, every regret you have. Big and small. Every spiteful thing you've said over the course of your life. That's me. Every stupid mistake that has cost you a job or a relationship or brought pain to you and those you love. That's me."


The reflection spits out a list of my sins as I sink to the floor, holding my ears and stifling sobs.


"You've let so many people down over the course of your life," it says. "Friends, family, co-workers. Your wife. Your children. Sad. And every time you screw something up, it's just a reminder of how much trouble you cause."


Something inside me stirs and fights to be heard. A voice of power, a voice of control. It's a voice telling me that none of this is true and I don't have to listen to any of it. Soon, both voices, the from within and the one from the mirror, are battling for possession of my strength. The noise is maddening in my head and I fear I'm losing my sanity. Pushed to my limit, I unleash a primal scream and fall to floor. The room fades to back.



*



I wake with a start and the sense of deja vu is overwhelming. The last time I woke up suddenly was when I napped on webcam. This time, though, I'm on the bathroom floor. My mouth is dry and I'm desperate for water, so I pull myself up to the counter and drink straight from the faucet. A crack runs along a diagonal from one corner of the mirror to the opposite corner. I stare at my jagged reflection and wait for the awful presence to return, but nothing happens. All is see is my exhaustion, eyes dark and puffy. I step into the hallway and glance down the hall at the bedroom where the poltergeist makes it presence known. I step into the bedroom and everything is at it should be. Nothing broken Everything in place. The gold light of the sunrise streams through the windows.


"Hello?" I call out with a tired, raspy voice. No response. I stand in the middle of the room and ponder it all. The entity told me it was everything awful thing I had ever done. And it's true. I hate every mistake I've made and I fear that every time I do something that fails to meet anyone's expectations, I'm only manifesting the fact that I'm a screw-up. The entity was wrong about one thing, though. I know deep down that people in my life aren't disappointed in me. That's something I've done to myself. Deep down I know the only one that lingers incessantly and obsesses over my failures is me. That's what I really hate about myself: that I can't just let that go.


I shuffle down the hall to my office and plop down in my chair and lay my head for a moment on the sit/stand desk. It's one thing to acknowledge that you shouldn't be so awful to yourself about the mistakes you've made and continue to make. How does one go about moving past that, though. What am I supposed to do? What steps can I take? Where do I even begin? I raise my head, turn to my laptop, and type.


Internet search: how to get over yourself

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