The rocking chair slowly came to a halt and Jeanie listened to the quiet of the night. Everything was still and the minute noises of the house echoed loud and clear from the darkness. She unclenched her hands and let her knees fall from her chest back to the floor. She slowly stood up and decided to go to bed, although she knew sleep would allude her.
She pulled her socks off and tossed them in a corner of the basement room. Rummaging through her trunk load of belongings she pulled out her alarm clock and placed it on the dresser. The red numerals told her what time it was, but she didn’t notice.
She let her worn jeans fall to the floor and kicked them towards her socks. The keys in her pocket made a dull thump when they hit the thinly carpeted floor. She added her bra to the pile and was pulling off her faded blue t-shirt when she noticed the mirror in the corner of the room.
It was a full length mirror, mounted on an antique wood frame. It was the kind held in the middle so you could tilt it, or twirl it as children would do. The mirror was tilted back, showing the splotches on the ceiling, and as Jeanie stepped forward she could see her tired face in the bottom corner. Her t-shirt was half off, hanging loosely around her arms. She reached out and nudged the mirror, watching it lean forward and come to rest in an upright position.
The image stopped her. There in the mirror was a twenty something woman, with tired blue eyes and stringy brown hair. Her skin was pale and freckled. With a slow, deliberate movement she pushed a strand of hair out of her eyes. It fell across her cheek, down over her shoulder and between her breasts.
Again, she looked at her image. It was Wednesday when she last shaved, but the mirror didn’t show it. She let the blue t-shirt fall from her hands and revealed her stomach to the mirror. She always saw it as round and full, mildly despising it but trying not to care. It looked the same in the mirror, yet somehow different. There was a crack in the mirror. It stretched across her stomach and split her body in two.
Her hand fell to the edge of her lavender underwear and she thought for a moment that the woman in the mirror was beautiful, was sexy.
The chill of the basement suddenly came upon her and she nearly gasped, breaking her gaze with the mirror. Shaking her head she shivered and groped for her pajamas and silently crawled into bed. She flicked the fluorescent lights off and their dull hum subsided and the basement was still. She blinked in the darkness, pulling the extra quilt from the bottom of the linen closet closer, and wondered what it was she saw in the mirror.