What can be extracted from a mirror.
I want to see the face I make right after I take a shit.
That’s what P. must have thought when he placed the mirror within the toilet room instead of placing it above the sink. Where it was really meant to be.
P.’s apartment was sketchy. We all knew that before we had seen it first. It doesn’t matter if you have known P. for a long time or you have just met P. now.
But there are choices one can make within the sketchiness. The apartment did not offer a great distribution itself. The rooms were thrown around as if a bad DJ had all P.’s favorite records of P.’s life compiled in an USB drive.
P. failed in decorating all of them.
P. had rooms that were too small to be called that. They could be called closets instead. Or they could be used as closets without calling them anything. Why should they call an inanimate object I thought. Calling limits a thousand possibilities.
P. was fun.
There was always excitement before opening a door at P.’s apartment. It could be anything. It could be one of those things, a couple of them, a few, or all at once if you were fast enough to catch them:
P.’s grandma’s house.
A park for earless cats.
P.’s bedroom, turned upside down. You’ll know it’s upside down by seeing all P.’s clothes and cover sheets on the floor. They must have fallen from the ceiling—where they were originally placed.
A kitchen containing only a refrigerator, with a wooden spoon to stir something like a stew or a big pot of white rice, that might be boiling two rooms away from the real kitchen. So you have to get to another kitchen that is not the real kitchen—two big steps away—before the water pours out the boiling pan and the parquet burns out.
A bathroom at the entrance of the apartment. Right in the right door.
As for the latter one, P. told us he had been told that it was refurnished. Indeed everything seemed new. We immediately thought he was telling the truth. But was he told the truth? The shower, the sink, the towel hangers, you know, the things that are supposed to be in a bathroom seemed all new.
Except for the toilet.
There was no toilet in the bathroom. You had to run and avoid opening the two floor doors with one of your toes—those were garrets—and if you were not careful enough, you could easily trip and fall in that hole.
P. failed with the choices he could have had made.
I imagine P. trying to have this debate in its own head.
What curtains do I put on the wall? How many lamps can a room handle before it is considered too bright? Can I walk on a forever-carpeted floor? Do I need plants or are they overrated? Does my office chair need wheels for real or can I omit them since my desk has limited space? Do I need wheels in all my chairs? Do I really need chairs or can I sit on the floor like cooler people do? If there is a chair do I need to take out the carpet? Are both incompatible? What about the table? What shape does it have to have? Does it need a tablecloth? Do carpets count as tablecloth? Does a carpet have a texture or a color or both? Where do I buy them without taking the subway? Are carpets expensive? I’ve been told that they are but should I listen? Do the windows open? What If they don’t? Should I cover them? Should I open or break them to test it? What will I drink in the apartment? Can I even drink? Can I even eat? Should I eat outside the apartment every time? Should I get paid for eating outside? Will someone pay for my lunch? Why do I need to grow up?
That might be P.’s debate if he had the same thoughts I have. I don’t think P. is that worried about money. The last question might be a little different.
P’s apartment… I can’t get any grasp of who P. is by simply starring at it.
Blank apartments are for blank people.
Bulky apartments are for bulky people.
Smelly apartments are for your divorced father.
You need to hear the truth. Sorry.
I might need to hear it too.
P. is not always in my mind. Of course. But somehow P. cringed into my mind like that. Just like a coin that refuses to balance out to one side or the other. It rests vertically and you can’t unsee it because its perfect balance is satisfying. It is just fine to look at.
P. is just fine.
There are people who never describe themselves. I know that because those are the ones who never frown their forehead. P. was like that. P.’s forehead was as smooth as it gets. There was not a single pucker between P.’s eyebrows—just like people get when they are too full of themselves.
P. is just fine. P. rests just fine. P. does weird stuff. And there must be a reason for it. Like making sure I am still thinking about P.
But the mirror is weird. The mirror intrigues me. It goes beyond my mental process of understanding.
Why would he want to look at P.’s face every time he would lock P.self in the bathroom closet?
I want to push P. a little harder. Explain that to me I want to yell at P.. I try to come up with a list of responses he might come up with.
1. I want to see all the walls in this room; at least, if this is the place I’m spending at least an hour a day. Here, seated.
2. There was a nail hanging on the wall. I had to use it before someone sticks P.’s or her head there by mistake. There was a mirror right there on the floor so I used it to cover the nail.
3. I really could not think of a better place to hang that mirror.
4. I could think of better places, but I just went ahead and did it there just to annoy everyone else. Visitors like you, who are sneaky and curious as fuck.
5. I needed to put it somewhere. It’s a gift. A horrible gift. But I had to put it somewhere. I thought the toilet was a safe place for no one to see. But it’s the only place the most people who come to visit me have seen, so it doesn’t work. I need to change it but I always forget. I might put it under one of the two garrets. But the person who gave it to me might come visit anytime—and I do not want that person to be mad.
Those are only a few of the scenarios I had thought of. It could really be anything of that list. Or anything from the list I haven’t mentioned, but if it matches I still win this guessing competition I just invented. Or it could be nothing from the above and the non-above.
Then I couldn’t think about anything else. I started to fear he really had no excuse after all. That was it.
I didn’t want P. to reply that. I would blush and he could see me blush and I refused to experience it so soon.
It could happen. Imagine.
This is happening. Would the air coming out P.’s lungs fog the mirror? Would he just look right inside P.’s eye—explore all the colors within, observe just one or a few of them or all of them at once?
Or maybe P. would look at the entire frame of P.’s face. P.’s jaw, nose, eyes, eyelashes, eyebrows. Why the eyes are the ones who have all the names in the face-parts?
I think P. might look at the detail, for a sustained amount of time until he just changes P.’s focus and forgets P.’s lines.
Nothing would leaver her with more shame than asking P. that.
But I had to do it—just to try. Thought I said NO, don’t.
I had to ask but I couldn’t. I went outside in the living room, but only within the first part of the living room. Because the other was two rooms away from there.
So. I went in the first one AND
P. is there and everyone else already got there as well.
That’s what he said
“Everyone else arrived”
I didn’t know there were other people coming. I thought I was going to have sex today. Unless he invited all of them to come watch or hear us, I won’t do it today. I am not comfortable handling more than one person at once. I learned it by talking to groups. I could never interact.
But I couldn’t think about anything else because it didn’t matter right now.
“I just felt like doing it. Why there must be a reason for that?”
P. seemed satisfied with the answer because P. didn’t add anything further.
It was dull. Something lost meaning for me and I could P.’s eyes losing meaning too.
I kept staring at P. who was left frozen, seated in the couch, legs wide apart and shoulders relaxed. All I can picture now is P.’s butt while looking through the bathroom mirror.
I picture then
P. going to the bathroom to pee.
P.’s back is facing it.
Making art and barely seeing it.