Charlie’s Room: The Mirror

“Charlie, what are you wearing?” Marianne asked one morning at breakfast.

“Clothes,” Charlie said without looking up from his cereal.

“I should hope so,” Isaac said.

“No, look at what you’re wearing, Charlie,” Marianne said.

Charlie looked down at his clothes and looked back up.   “What’s wrong with it?” he asked.

“It doesn’t match,” Marianne said. She began to point at his clothes with her spoon.   “Your shirt is navy blue, your shorts are teal, and your socks are cerulean. They don’t match at all.”

“It’s all blue,” Charlie said. “If it’s the same color, doesn’t it automatically match?”

“No,” Marianne said. “Of course not. It all has to be the same shade of blue.”

“That sounds like a lot of work. Do people really care about that kind of stuff?” Charlie asked.

“Of course they do,” Marianne said. “Or they will when they’re older. So you might as well practice now.”

“Fine, fine,” Charlie said. “But can I start tomorrow? I don’t really have time to color match or whatever this morning.”

“Ok, I can start helping you pick out outfits in the evening,” Marianne said. “It will be fun.”

“I don’t know,” Charlie said. “I think we may have different ideas about what’s fun.”

“You’ll see,” Marianne said. “Oh, I know what will really help you out. I’ll go get you a mirror for the back of your bedroom door.”

“As long as we leave my door open at night so I can’t see it. Mirrors are creepy at night,” Charlie said. “I always close my eyes until I’ve turned the bathroom light on.”

“Of course we can do that. I’ll pick up the mirror when I’m out running errands,” she said.   “Isaac, we’re having leftovers tonight.   I’ll heat them up after swim practice if you can hang up the mirror while we’re gone.”

“I’ll take care of it as soon as I get home from work,” Isaac said. He stood up to take his bowl to the sink. Marianne and Charlie followed him. They rinsed their bowls and gathered their things together. It was time to start the day.

After work, Isaac returned home and found the mirror on the kitchen table. It came with everything necessary for attaching it to the door. It wouldn’t take long at all. He went out to the garage to retrieve his drill.

Zip, zip, zip…The job was over fairly quickly. The hardest part was making sure the mirror was hanging straight. He stepped back a few feet.   It looked good. Time to put the drill away.

He returned from the garage and checked the clock.   He had enough time to read another chapter in his new book before everyone came home. He walked down the hall. As he passed Charlie’s room, he heard a quiet thump.

If it had been the mirror, surely it would have been louder. He opened the door cautiously, just in case. However, the floor behind the door looked clear. He walked into the room and stepped on something that shifted under his foot. He nearly fell on his face, only catching himself at the last second.

He looked down. Nothing was there. He stepped forward, shuffling his foot, and his toe hit something. He reached down and picked up what felt like a ball but looked like nothing. He turned it around in his hands, squinting his eyes and trying to see it.

He heard a tapping sound, coming from behind him.   He turned around and saw movement in the mirror that didn’t match his own. Someone that looked like him was tapping on the glass.

When he saw Isaac looking in his direction, not-Isaac smiled and waved.   He pointed at Isaac’s hands.   Isaac looked down. He remembered he couldn’t see the ball. He looked back up and not-Isaac nodded and held out his hands. Not-Charlie was peeking out from behind him, smiling.

Isaac gently tossed the invisible ball at the mirror. Did it work? There wasn’t any sound or flash of light or anything.   But, not-Isaac looked like he was cradling something in his arms. He nodded and said, “thank you,” without making any sound.

Then he handed the ball to not-Charlie, who ran out of the frame. He turned back to Isaac and settled into place, mimicking Isaac’s position.   Isaac smiled and waved.   Not-Isaac smiled and waved back.

The mirror was still hanging perfectly straight.   Isaac left the room and went to find his new book. He had just enough time to read a chapter before everyone came home.