Mirrors | Teen Ink


November 6, 2014
By Kestrel135 PLATINUM, Waterford, Connecticut
Kestrel135 PLATINUM, Waterford, Connecticut
43 articles 0 photos 256 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Respect existence or expect resistance"

That’s what it will feel like, I decide. A glowing ember caged inside, holding the past and future and present behind molten bars. The blistering nerves dancing along your skin, making you cringe at every motion. The screaming as your mind’s solace is torn away and locked away behind the unsurpassable gate of a forgotten prison. Hating yourself for convincing you to do this. To forget.
Yes. That’s exactly how it will be.
I press my hands against the edges of the sink, eyes looking down to the ground, forcing myself pause before facing the mirror. Every morning it’s the same - or at least, I assume it is. Reluctant to let it all go, but releasing anyway and reasoning with yourself that this is the right thing to do, that if you do progress will be made. That you’re important, and this ritual of loss reflects that importance.
All I have to do is look up. I know that. But I also know what I will lose if I do, and the thought of having my past locked away behind bars, myself trapped outside without a key, puts a leaden weight on my soul.
Of course, if I don’t, research will never get anywhere. I won’t be able to approach problems with as much of an open perspective as I can this way and solve the issues my forgotten colleagues have been troubling over for months. Progress will be stalled, and in when in a war of escape,  the slower the progress the more lives are lost.  I can’t afford that, not on top of what I have already sacrificed. My colleagues can’t afford that loss. No one can.
This is worth it. It has to be.
I’m not sure I could bear the consequences if it wasn’t.
Taking a heavy breath, I compose myself tenderly. If anything, I won’t remember the pain this will give. I also won’t remember waking up this morning and fearing the ritual to come. I won’t remember staring into the mirror in confusion moments after my past was erased yesterday morning, frantically bursting out the apartment and down the stairs to find my task and old colleagues waiting for me. The friends I untied, working on the plot I formulated; all designed for me to forget.
I owe it to myself to at least try and work to complete the plans I began. At least try to get the escape humankind so desperately needs. If I don’t so much as attempt to finish what we started, all the memories I’ve sacrificed will be for nothing. I’ve come too far to turn back, and even though I am terrified of what’s ahead, I’m more terrified of what lies behind.
Numb, I look up into the mirror. My dazed reflection stares back at me with hollow green eyes that stare right through me, haloed in exhaustion and wild unbrushed hair curling at my chin, a look of pure emptiness on my features.
That’s me, I realize. That lonely, lost, pathetic person is me.
The device at the top of the mirror clicks softly, the room suddenly cloaked in a blinding white light.
For a moment, all I can feel is the panic of forgetting, the regret about making this stupid decision and designing this all in the first place, the contempt that this version of me only gets a mirror image to remember themselves by. All I feel is emptiness as it all melts away, footprints on a beach swallowed by the next breaking wave.
It’s not at all like burning.

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This article has 4 comments.

on Aug. 2 2015 at 10:58 am
Kestrel135 PLATINUM, Waterford, Connecticut
43 articles 0 photos 256 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Respect existence or expect resistance"

Thank you so much! I'm sorry I am so late to reply to this (honestly, I'm not sure when you posted this comment, since the site says it was written "today at 7:30pm", but it's only 10:00 am. Plus it said the same thing three days ago when I didn't have a chance to reply, so I'm sensing a glitch of some sort). Anyway, your advice is extremely helpful. I have been working on catching myself when repeating phrases in close proximity to one another, and having you point out the spots where that is needed most in this piece is a lifesaver. I really appreciate you taking the time to read this! Thank you!

Beila BRONZE said...
on Feb. 22 2015 at 7:30 pm
Beila BRONZE, Palo Alto, California
3 articles 0 photos 516 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." -Mark Twain

Wow, this is terrifyingly beautiful. Since you're clearly an incredible writer, I'll point out the few tiny things that I think would take your writing to the next level. First of all, be aware of your word choice. For the most part, it is excellent, and phrases like "footprints on a beach swallowed by the next breaking wave" are breathtaking, but there is a place where you say "torn away and locked away," which sounds redundant, and toward the end of the piece, you say "stares back with eyes that stare right through me." I think changing up the repeated word in both cases would have improved the flow in a minute yet significant way. Also, the dramatic emotion in the beginning and in the end wanes a little where you start talking about research in the middle, and I think that to keep the intensity of the piece constant throughout, you could look at a way to either cut or revise that portion. That said, I say all of the above only because your actual writing and the concept are some of the best I have seen on Teen Ink. Keep writing, and all the best!

on Nov. 24 2014 at 4:06 pm
Kestrel135 PLATINUM, Waterford, Connecticut
43 articles 0 photos 256 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Respect existence or expect resistance"

Thank you! This was actually based off of a dream I had one night - the mirror, the forgetting - which was bursting to come out as a story. I'm glad you like it!

on Nov. 22 2014 at 5:13 pm
CNBono17 SILVER, Rural, South Carolina
5 articles 0 photos 248 comments

Favorite Quote:
Lego ergo sum (Latin—I read, therefore, I am)
The pen is mightier than the sword—unknown
Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity—1 Timothy 4:12

Oh my gosh. That's incredible. It's an original, stimulating look at the mind and memory, as well as the ethics of an experiment like this and an issue like this. Very insightful. Excellent work:)