Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Pier Glass

Over the years, my visage has changed. Grown longer... wider. The hair whiter... coarser. The eyes wiser. Or perhaps more jaded. It is difficult to separate those two things some days. I have fallen and gotten up too many times to count, the scars on my knees hidden by the scabs of my latest debacle. The face that looks back from the glass is no longer quite as full of potential as it once was. The edges are worn off and what remains is tilted with a rueful smile. It was never, what I would call, handsome. But there are moments when the look is pleasing, usually following some triumph where all is right. At other times it is best not to look too carefully, because the lines and creases have begun to deepen and the imperfections are all too... visible. But the physical features matter less as the sand shifts. It is the eyes that matter. At what point did the eyes change? When they look back on me now, the knowledge of the miles they have seen makes it hard for them to be as convincing of the things that are around the next bend.

A pier glass is a large mirror... hung high on a wall often between two windows. Its silver extends and reflects the room upon itself, giving the illusion of large space. It hides nothing and as I stand there looking... it is not the preened self that reflects in the mirror of the bathroom. The one in which I stand up straighter, and lower my jawline, in a futile attempt at vanity. No... the pier glass shows me as I am, unaware of the need for vanity. Stooped and gray and weighted by the years and the worries. I catch the glimpse of this stranger and feel the shock of recognition... as if seeing a long lost mate, suddenly coming in to a focus of memories. They flood through me. The memories.

But the mirror hangs between windows... the windows are not for reflection, but to allow others to see in. All of us... everyone of us... wonders how the world views us. Wonders what they see... and what they miss. The scars are never as noticeable to others as they are to yourself. But I am struck by the dichotomy of these two views... self view... and the view of others. How harsh we are on ourselves. How we learn to focus on the cuts and bruises that we know so well, instead of the beauty that radiates. At a certain point the mirrors become useless. It only reflects the eyes that either lie... or tell too much truth. Neither is fair. Neither is accurate.

But the jaded eyes also know that those looking through the windows allow their views to be colored, skewed by the imperfections of the glass, which perhaps reflects themselves back a bit as they stare through to you. These views are colored by jealousy. Colored by hatred. Colored by bigotry. Colored by desire. Colored by envy. Colored by grief. Colored... it would seem... by their own eye that have walked their own path and thus have formed their own distorted view.

So who to trust? We read often of unconditional love. The skeptic in me wonders if the idea is simply fantasy. The romantic in me wonders if this is the real answer to the question of trust. Unconditional love sees all... the bruises... the scabs... the jaded eyes... and loves anyway without distortion. And what we wish for is that... someone in the pier glass, or someone in the window that can view us that way.


  1. This is an amazing write. My eyes have been darkened by cynacism over time, my smile more of a dark-humored smirk, and my thoughts perhaps colored by a lurking sadness.

    However, although I don't know you well and have had some missteps with you (smirking at understatement), I have and continue to admire your writing and wish that I wrote as eloquently. Sometimes, like today, I become intimidated by your skill, honesty and heart, wishing only to read. And feeling sad that I will never have the gift that you possess.

    But I cannot put down my pen. I may not be on the level you are, but writing is an urge, a compulsion, perhaps one that is only for my eyes.

    I digress. Well done, Mobius, and as always, thank you. You must never stop writing!

  2. I couldn't agree with "Happy Enough" more... as I said before, your ability to convey your emotion through your writing is amazing. I also write, but not often enough, and it is rarely good enough to share. ;-) I also hope you never stop writing.

  3. First of is lovely to read you again. I've missed you! Your cape is shorter. It suits you.

    But here's the thing. I turn 40 next week and, I'm not gonna lie, I'm pretty pissed off about it. Dude, you're only 41. This post is not helping me out.

    How about other ways of adjusting perspective, besides jealously, pain, and hardship. I'm thinking, for you, more along the lines of a martini and a lap dance. Or for me, whatever. I'm up for anything.

    Unconditional love. Soul mates. I'm not sure that these are not really just mythology. I guess I'm joining the cynics on this one. I understand the appeal, why we search. Sometimes I think the thing we all want most is just to be known. Truly known by just one other person. But I'm not sure if it's possible. And then even if it was, would it necessarily make for the happiest relationship

  4. @Happy- Never under estimate the power of words. Keep at it. You should never put down your pen.

    @Lindsay- You too... keep at it.

    @Cynthia... glad you are back. And happy birthday a week early.

  5. I rarely think about people looking in my windows, as I am usually more likely to look out. It's so much easier to pass by the mirror that way.

    Alas - as much as I love this part of your cycle - I wonder when you'll post something that includes pictures of some phallic dog toy or another.

  6. @PC... heh. I was just thinking how I need to write something funny. But funny can be harder than serious.

    I have a cycle? really? :)