Noor made her way to the bathroom with a foggy mind, fragments of gold landing at her bare feet as they crawled in through the gaps in her curtains. The wooden door creaked in complaint as Noor’s stiff arms pushed through it, and she thought of how she felt the same way. A long day awaited her. The tiles beneath her feet couldn’t have been any colder.
The mirror facing her swallowed up the space around her in its reflection. When her eyes moved up to where she expected to find her face—puffy eyes, red patches and all—Noor found nothing. A blurry grey haze replaced her features, as if someone had exhaled over the glass and forgot to rub off the steam. It was to be expected, she thought, after the interminable crying session of yesterday, that she would find her face washed away of any emotion. Yet, Noor continued her routine all the same, absent-mindedly washing whatever was left of her face, haphazardly attempting to brush her teeth without a clear view in the mirror. She stood for a minute and sighed, gripping the edge of the sink. Facing herself in the glass, an overwhelming urge to reach towards herself gripped her. Her fingers inched forward until both sets met. To her surprise, Noor felt warmth and skin rather than the cool glass. Noor’s hand and the reflection’s identical one clasped firmly, There was a gentle tug as the girl from the other side climbed over the patterned frame. One leg after the other. Before Noor had the chance to think, she gracefully landed on the edge of the marble counter. Feet playfully swinging forwards and back.
“It’s much more comfy out here,” the reflection spoke, startling Noor into looking up and setting her tired eyes onto the face in front of her. She could still see that haze obscuring her, but there was a faint impression of her eyes and her mouth moving to form words.
The new arrival spun her head around the room thoughtfully, taking in the space in its entirety. Noor should’ve been scared. Or startled, maybe? But there was a sense of comfort she noticed that she couldn’t describe, and there seemed to be some sort of understanding between the two, despite the girl’s unexplained crossing over.
“Are you done?” The reflection hopped off the counter and headed to the door, holding it open as she waited for Noor’s response. “I can’t wait to leave this place.”
Noor turned and followed her, yet to utter a single word. The reflection languidly made her way around the small apartment, pausing often to observe the eclectic selection of items cluttering the space. A vintage cat-shaped landline that stared back at her through dusty eyes, flaunting its worn-out coat of an orange shade. A seashell tray holding a waterfall of multicolored necklaces, rings, and bracelets. Movie posters covering the yellowed, peeling wallpaper —from Twin Peaks to When Harry Met Sally. Noor’s reflection took her time exploring everything that came into sight, all as she shuffled along behind. Each item held some sentimental value for her, almost sacred, and they had been a reassuring presence to her on several occasions. Maybe it was silly, materialistic even. But the way this new girl held each thing as though it was a relic to value allayed that feeling.
“Cool stuff,” the reflection stated. With a sigh, she finally decided to settle on the couch, straight out of the seventies with its ochre and brown florid pattern. The pillows sank underneath her weight. Noor awkwardly placed herself adjacent to her doppelganger. There was a silence, not heavy, but comfortable, settling gently over the two in the way autumn leaves might float down in all their golden glory, sleeping on their shoulders. In the quiet, Noor gazed at the coffee table, all its clutter threatening to spill over the edge. While she stared at an unfinished book, folded open to keep her place, the fog in her brain evaporated. The thoughts in her head were glass marbles clinking against one another, always noisy and taking up too much space. That familiar despondent feeling was returning: a dull ache in the depths of her chest.
“It’s nice on this side. It was getting lonely in there, you know?”
“I know,” Noor replied truthfully. She sat back, and she could feel the warmth radiating from the girl beside her.
“I know it’s hard, but you need to stop looking.” The reflection turned to face Noor, giving her an earnest look. “I can see you searching for love in everything. In everyone.”
The cat phone stared back at Noor. Along with the faces from the photos peeking from under the coffee table mess. Letters unsent, stray flower petals, ornate plates, piles of clothes. The ache in her heart never abated.
“It’s all here, it’s in you, so desperate to burst out.” She turned her body towards Noor, and her hand gingerly came to rest on her chest, exactly where Noor’s heart beat so determinedly. It was as if the reflection was able to see through Noor’s skin, and her fingers slightly poked through the surface. Her heart glowed. A seraphic radiance, burning bright inside her unrelentingly. It shone with everything Noor longed for.
The girl then lifted her hand to Noor’s face and wiped away the haze, in two swift motions. Their features were visible, two sets of brown eyes glittering with specks of color, acknowledging each other, bathing in the comfort of understanding. The uncertainty of the blur disappeared. Now, Noor could see herself perfectly clear.
Maheatab M. is an upcoming writer based in the United Kingdom. She writes fiction and non-fiction and takes inspiration the world, the internet, and other female writers.