Day 189 – Mirrors

I have a headache.

Word count: 913

“Josh, can you get your things together now!” Jodie screamed up the stairs at her son.

It was one of those mornings: it was always one of those mornings. The alarm clock had snoozed for too long; the boiler had failed to turn on during the night again; the milk was off and Josh only had a partially clean school uniform. There was dashing, running, screaming, shouting, death matches, threats of naughty steps and smacking all before eight in the morning. It was now half past and they both needed to have left ten minutes ago at the latest.

Another sleepless night for Jodie, she was fraught with worry. Rent was due at the end of the week, her credit card was maxed out and she’d called on too many favours from her mum these last few months to demand another. She had fourteen pounds for food to last her until the end of the month. Josh’s dad Carl had toddled off years ago with some blond bimbo with far too many occurrences of the letter i in her name than was appropriately necessary. It was tough, and Jodie was night at the end of losing it. She worked at some scrappy café off one of the side roads from the High Street. A scrawny, dirty place frequented mainly by perving builders and desperate policemen. It paid less than peanuts, but it was something and in this town something was better than nothing.

“Josh, do as you’re told – now!” she feigned running up stairs and hear Josh scrambling around his room in reaction to his believe that she was storming up towards him.
A second later he appeared in the door way at the top landing and grinned with his school bag wrapped around his front.
“Have you got all your homework?”
Josh was seven and had inherited nothing but cheek from his father.
“Am I going to have to count to three?”
Josh nodded and slid down the stairs on his bum.
“Don’t do that, you’ll ruin the carpet! I’ve told you – now have you,” she smelled his breath, “No you haven’t brushed your teeth – go now!”
Josh scarpered into the downstairs bathroom as Jodie headed back into the kitchen. The last in the long series of post-it notes on the fridge read the shopping list for that week. A quick sum in her head told her that it amounted to more than what she had. They would make it somehow, but it was always a struggle. Jodie just wanted one nice week where she had a few pounds left over for a quick treat or to plonk into a piggy bank and save it for next week. That was too much to hope for.
A pile of bills were stacked on top of the small dining table too. Jodie had not the heart to read them quite yet. She knew what they would be – overdraft charges, late fees… all the usual.
“Josh, are you done? I don’t hear you brushing!” Jodie shouted through to her son.
There was no sound of rushing water or the scrubbing of teeth and come to think of it, Jodie couldn’t smell mint. Leaving the kitchen, she traversed the tiny hallway and knocked on the bathroom door.
“Josh, are you in there?”
No response.
Jodie knocked again, “Josh – we need to hurry, come on….”
No response.
Jodie jiggled the handle and the door fell open… to an empty bathroom.
“Josh?”
But in the pokey little bathroom, there was no place to hide – not even a cupboard to crawl into. Backing out into the hall she shouted up the stairs again – to another wall of silence.
Running upstairs she checked the bedrooms. Nothing; Josh was nowhere to be seen.
“This isn’t funny, Josh!”
She ran back down the stairs and checked the bathroom one last time before she grabbed her keys and ventured outside to continue her search. She was livid. She was already late for dropping him at school and at this rate she would be late for work.
“Josh if you don’t show yourself now, there’ll be trouble!”
Stepping into the bathroom she pulled back the shower curtain and looked behind the door. There was no one there: no one until she looked, by chance, at the mirror. Instead of seeing the exact reflection of her own bathroom and her own self, she saw a much different view.
It was of a bathroom completely different to the one she was currently in. It had gold furnishings and framed pictures on the wall. It was ten times as big and looked shiny and new. Inside this bathroom were two figures that she recognised very well. One was herself, glamorous and with her hair done up and styled. She wore designer clothes and had gold jewellery dangling from her neck and wrists. The other was her son, who stood beside this other-Jodie and allowed the woman to put her arms around him.

“Josh?” Jodie crept forward. “Is…. Is that you?”
But the other Jodie strode forwards and looked right at Jodie, “Step back, bitch. He’s mine. Come on, Josh. Let’s go buy you something expensive.”
The two of them walked out of the side of the frame and into somewhere that Jodie couldn’t see. Josh did not even look back. Jodie dived towards the mirror and fumbled around, but all she could touch of that world was the solid metal reflection of something she could never have.

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~ by S.G. Mark on April 13, 2012.

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