It is easy for a visually-oriented person like me to get addicted to writing about pictures. Having had a chance to look through the 2012 archive of photo prompts over at Ermilia’s Pinterest board, I thought I would submit a piece for consideration for their publication. Here is “Sisters:”
It was Mama and Sister’s favorite dress. Gramma had made it for my confirmation and everyone–especially Mama and Sister–thought I looked like an angel in it, even though it was really too big then. I am glad they got to see me in it for confirmation because they smiled like they were really happy; they weren’t happy much. It’s been two years and I try not to think too hard about them anymore, not since the accident. I didn’t mean to, that is to say, I didn’t want it to happen.
I love the mirror in the attic. I always have. It used to seem so much bigger but now it’s just right. Gramma keeps the dress up here now instead of in the back bedroom closet; she says it reminds her of Mama and Sister too much. I don’t get that, since it’s my dress. Anyway, I started coming up here a lot after I came to live with her all the time. She doesn’t like that I come up here, but I don’t care. She spends so much time crying in her lace hankies that she doesn’t pay much attention to me anyway.
I used to pretend that the mirror was magic. It seemed like, instead of a reflection of the attic, that it was a whole different place in there. That one time I was playing tea party, I smiled at my reflection and it didn’t smile back. The me over there looked so sad. I asked her if she wanted to play with me and that’s when she smiled. I was so excited I brought Sister up here to show her, but instead of smiling, the me over there grabbed Sister and dragged her into the mirror. I couldn’t believe it so I went and got Mama and the same thing happened to her. I told Gramma but she wouldn’t come up to see; instead, she mumbled something, spit into the dust at the bottom of the attic steps, used that funny key to lock the attic door, and tried to get me to stay out. I say ‘try’ because I could get the door open with a hairpin and the first time I came up I saw she had covered up the mirror. Gramma didn’t say anything to anyone for a while and after the first good snow made up a story about Mama and Sister and the lake. I didn’t want to get in any trouble so I stayed out of the attic for a while, but I figured the me in the mirror would be lonely, so I came back. By then, Gramma didn’t seem to care what I did. I found the dress up here too; Gramma had just thrown it in an old brown paper shopping bag. That hurt my feelings and it made the me in the mirror sad too. I could tell because she got really happy when I took it out of the bag, shook it out, and put it on. I liked her; it was like having a twin sister, which sort of made up for what happened. It made me feel not so lonely.
I liked having someone to really play tea party and dress-up with and the me in the mirror could do tricks. She could make more copies of herself, or of me, or however you want to think of it. I told my friend Polly at school, but I told her like it was sort of a made-up story. Polly said I was strange and then she stopped being my friend. I came home and went straight to the attic; for the first time, the me in the mirror came out. She smiled at me and danced with me, while the others stayed on the other side and danced with us. I’ve decided I want to stay here with them; they never make me cry, they don’t think I’m strange, and I know if someday I go with them I’ll be with Mama and Sister again. For now, I’ve made some sandwiches and locked myself in here. I guess Gramma will eventually try to come and get me, but I know my new sisters will take care of me.