Yes, That’s Her
My mother was a cruel person, nicer to her dog than any human. When I was a naughty little girl she used to lock me in the bathroom. When I was really naughty, she would turn the breaker off so there were no lights in the bathroom.
One evening, I could tell she was building toward an eruption of anger, I pledged to myself to be on my best behavior. I said ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ in the proper ways, I looked down and was silent. ‘Kids are to be seen and not heard,’ was my law of choice that night. None of my effort seemed to matter. I got crumbs on the dinner table. They seemed to appear whether we ate something crumbly or not. She stormed off to the fuse box, and I heard the familiar clunk of the breaker. She re-entered the dining room in a fury.
She grabbed my ear, yanked me up, and pulled me quickly to the bathroom. She placed me just inside the door, and slammed it shut. I heard her click the cheap lock on the doorknob, and I sat on the floor where she had placed me. There was enough space beneath the door to see the lights from the rest of the house. I saw the lights dim, as she went through the entire house, and clicked them off one at a time. I heard her keys, and the front door slam shut.
There was nothing. My breath, the cool floor of white linoleum. I traced the diamond and square shapes for a while.
“She thinks I torment you, when she locks you in here. You know that?” A voice floated above my head, and I didn’t dare look.
“She was locked in a bathroom when she was little, and I tormented her. Even back then, I saw her cruel heart.” Something about about the disembodied voice was gentle. I wasn’t used to gentle.
“Why doesn’t she love me?” I ask.
“Oh sweety, she doesn’t love herself and takes it out on you. I know it’s hard to understand.” The gentle voice was coming from the mirror. “Do you know she doesn’t even lock the door knob? She just makes you think she can from outside. If you want to see how much she loves you, go to your bedroom, but lock this door behind you. Be silent when she comes home.”
“Are you sure she won’t get mad?” I said.
“I’ll talk to her when she opens the door to find you.” The voice from the mirror said.
I stood up, with my eyes closed, and faced the mirror above the sink, my heart racing. I decided if there was something I could see in the mirror, I would try it, and if there was nothing in the mirror, I was talking to myself.
There was a sweet lady in the mirror. It was inky black in the bathroom, but the lady in the mirror glowed with a soft white light. I swallowed before I said, “You are pretty. Be nice to mom okay?”
“Of course. I will tell her only things she needs to hear. Go on now. You know how to get to your room in the dark?” The lady in the mirror smiled encouragingly to me.
I put on my brave face, put my hand on the door and turned the knob. The lady in the mirror was right, it wasn’t locked. I held the wall and closed my eyes, all the way down the hall to my room. I got on my bed, and held my pillow and bear for a while. I whispered the plan to my bear so he would know.
Mom came home soon after I made it onto my bed, and she turned on the front hall light. It was so bright, but I did my best to be quiet. I hid a little bit behind Mr. Bear, but not completely.
I could hear mom walk into the living room to put her keys down, then head for the bathroom door. “Have you missed me?” She said through the door. Usually if I didn’t respond right away she would wait another 5 minutes to let me out, and then ask again. If I didn’t immediately answer ‘yes mommy’ she would make me wait even longer.
I heard the lady in the mirror’s voice, but I didn’t understand her through the door and the hallway. I heard mom gasp and try to open the bathroom door. Mom screamed my name, and said “You’d better open this door if you know what’s good for you!” I was very glad not to be in the bathroom.
Mom stormed to the garage, clicked the breaker, crashed around the toolbox, and walked quickly to the bathroom door. I heard the lady in the mirror say something else, but I still couldn’t understand it.
The bathroom door opened and I heard her say to the mirror, “What have you done with my daughter?”
“You have already done too much to her,” the lady in the mirror said. “Unless you become a whole person, and give up your cruel ways, I will hunt you in your dreams. I will become every reflection of you, and you will take my place when you die. She knows that I exist, and if she ever had need of me, I will come. You deserve the 9 rings of hell for the cruelty in your heart, but for her sake, you have the chance of redemption.”
“Mary, you are the craziest bitch I’ve ever run into, and that is saying something! I’m glad I killed you when I had the chance. Now give me back my fucking daughter,” mom said.
I heard some struggles, and something flop onto the bathroom floor. The lady in the mirror called to me. “Come back little one.”
I went back to the bathroom, and mom was sleeping on the bathroom floor. The lady in the mirror smiled down at me. “I was sent to help you, and so I will. I need you to pull your mom to a sitting position, and open her mouth.”
I did what she asked, although it was difficult. Mom’s mouth didn’t want to stay open so I got the mouth washing soap out from the cupboard and placed it so half her mouth was clear. “That is perfect. Now watch this trick.” The lady in the mirror peeled herself away from the mirror, and now she looked like a ghost, see-through and misty. She gracefully climbed down to the floor, and somehow she climbed into mom’s mouth. Her whole shape filled my moms mouth, and little tendrils of mist came out of her nose. I almost giggled.
My mom opened her eyes, moved her head around so her neck popped, and I don’t know how but the lady from the mirror smiled at me from my mom’s face. It was the gentle smile, not my mom.
“We shall spend a few years together, and I will make sure your mother never hurts you again.”
Monsters become my guardian angels, and whenever someone was cruel or bullied me, monsters came to my defense. They are kinder than most people, once you get to know them.