Reading Time: 3 minutes

I hate mirrors. They show more than they need to.

Every time I pass one, my eyes dart around like scared rabbits. Who wants to see the ugly truth?

I don’t. But there’s a mirror everywhere you look. Are people so obsessed with themselves? Half the population hardly qualifies as average looking. Then what are they staring at?

A glimpse of something special. The hope that a particular pose or angle will make them look better.

I hate to break the news, but you are what you are. And a mirror is the unkindest form of self-reflection.

Isn’t that what those gurus and life coaches keep harping on about?

Love yourself. Accept who you are. Smile and bear it.

What do they care or know? All they want is money and a large following. Pretty or ugly means little to them. We’re all fools in their professional dictionary.

I share a two-bedroom apartment with my friend. She’s the pretty one. Hot some would say. A face and body to die for. Her room is an ode to mirrors. There’s even one on the ceiling.

I keep away from that prison of deception. There are no other mirrors. A month-long argument got rid of the one in the bathroom. It was a relief that I didn’t have to see myself every time I took a shower or used the toilet.

I’m supposed to visit the doctor twice a month, every second and fourth Thursday. My mom comes to pick me up. Her eyes always look so sad. Maybe she needs to get rid of her mirrors too.

The nurse makes me stand on a scale and notes down my weight. Her smile couldn’t be more fake. She then checks my blood pressure. It’s usually too low.

The doctor always stands to greet me. He shakes my hand and then leads me to the full-length mirror and asks me what I see.

I can’t stand to look at myself. There’s too much flesh and fat. It hangs from my hips and shoulders. My face is a pale ball of dough. Even my eyes barely open. I want to scream but all I do is whimper.

The doctor tells my mom that I’ve lost four more pounds. I’m down to ninety-three. If I lose more weight, I’ll have to be hospitalized. She starts to cry and tells me I look like a skeleton. I don’t know what she means. Can’t they see what I see?

It’s not my fault if I’m anorexic. I believe what those evil mirrors tell me.  

I hate them.

Ali takes care of his sick grandmother. He is only seven. But his mother calls him The Man of the House. The boy takes this too seriously.

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49 Comments on “Those Evil Mirrors – Flash Fiction Story

  1. This is both sad and hilarious. I enjoyed the humor throughout the story! Good one Terveen. I hope this comment doesn’t disappear.

    • Thank you so much, Vignesh! 🙂
      The mind can be a troubled place. And I breathe a sigh of relief that the comment didn’t disappear. Otherwise, I’m going to be blacklisted soon by disgruntled readers. Please bear with me. I did complain about this.

    • Oh my! I think that’s a heavy statement.
      Your observation is correct in every respect.
      Thanks Bharath. 🙂

    • You always surprise! This was a great story about body image that I thought was going to be about vampires or something. I think this would make a good narration to the beginning of a movie with a little montage. Awesome job!

      • Tony, that’s a brilliant idea. I can picture it.
        Several random shots put together of the girl and her day-to-day routine and outlook towards life. And the narration in the background.
        I also like the vampire concept. Keeping that in mind for another story.

        I’m glad you enjoyed this. Thanks so much! 🙂

  2. Unexpected ending – I love that about your stories, as per usual, I didn’t see it coming. It was hard hitting. I suffered from anorexia and the distorted body image that comes with it as a teenager and your story hits the nail on the head. Wow.

    • Thank you so much, Britta. 🙂
      This is a very sensitive subject for many youngsters. I’ve been through something like this too. And the mind can really play tricks on you. This came to my mind today, so I just shaped it into a story.
      Yes, unexpected is always so delightful.

  3. The narrator avoided the roommate’s “prison of perception.” That was a great contrast with the final revelation.

    • Yes it was. The perception was actually cloaked by the mind’s deception. A heavy contrast.
      Thanks so much. 🙂

  4. Fantastic story! Looks like we discovered a cure to anorexia(and probably million other problems)- just hide all the mirrors of the world.
    What a genius your friend is, to put a mirror on the ceiling. Still laughing about it.

    Always fun to read your stories 😃

    • I guess the biggest mirror is the mind. It makes you believe what it shows you. And I knew that mirror on the ceiling would raise a few eyebrows. Haha.
      Thanks so much, Mayank. 🙂

  5. Ah, yes, the power of perception, creating realities seen and unseen. Lovely story, Terveen, as always. 😊

  6. I saw a documentary once that covered a study of anorectics and one of the things the researchers discovered, aside from them overestimating their own body size was that they were evaluating how they looked present day compared to a unrealistic and possibly even false memory from their mind’s eye.

    The study included anorexic and non-anorexic young girls who were all filmed in tight fitting black dresses against a white background and when they were shown the pictures, they were told that the photos had been altered (they hadn’t) to make their bodies appear either larger or smaller than their actual size. They were given instructions to adjust the image to reflect their actual body size and all the girls overestimated how large they really were, the anorectics simply did it to a greater degree. It says a lot about how we view ourselves and hold our flawed personal reality up against the idealized versions of ourselves that exist solely in our minds.

    Anyhoo, didn’t mean to bang on about the documentary. This was a very powerful piece, Terveen. Expertly executed as always.

    • I really appreciate that you always share such meaningful information, Rhyan. It’s really about flawed reasoning and perceptions. It’s sad how the mind can override all other senses to influence a person’s choices and decisions. I know how it feels to go through bad phases where the mind has a mind of its own and makes a person a slave to its faulty functioning. Mental health is a subject that has a lot of stigma attached to it. And there’s still so much unknown about the brain and the way it acts and reacts.
      Thank you so much! 🙂

  7. It’s so sad that some people actually have to go through that. You’ve captured the power of mirrors very well: they can be very toxic when you’re subconsciously always comparing yourself to the unrealistic, unattainable beauty ideal. Interesting solution 😉

    • The mind can be a person’s greatest enemy. Why? How? It’s all such an abstract concept. And so many are obsessed with the way they look and how others perceive them. Mirrors can be a boon and bane.
      Thank you so much for your lovely comment. 🙂

  8. I thought it’s a scar or something and the ending is rather surprising. Just like all great endings, I think I should have seen it coming but I didn’t. Our mind is playing tricks with us all the time. First it is the aspiration for unattainable body image. Then it is the smashing of all mirrors so that the true extent of the illness will not be seen (by yourself)–it is like a dictatorship that wants to destroy all dissents to create an illusion that everybody supports it. Here the mind is the dictator.

    • Your words have summed up this story so beautifully. There’s nothing more I can add to this.
      Thank you so much! I appreciate your constant support and encouragement.

  9. Your flash fiction is wonderfully powerful. I’d never really heard of this kind of thing before, so I’m glad I found my way here. 😊

    • Thank you so much, Adam. 🙂
      There are so many facets of life that we are unaware of. Keep stopping by for more stories.
      Appreciate it.

  10. I’m not keen on mirrors either… The person the looks back is an ugly sod 😂

  11. Pingback: I Will Run Away - Flash Fiction Story | It Ain't Right Till I Write

    • Thank you so much. 🙂
      I appreciate your kind words.
      Yes, perception is what leads us. It is often blind to right or wrong, having a mind of its own.

      • you surely are welcome🙏🏼😃
        I like that it is often blind to right or wrong…sometime like feelings that do not evaluate if it should feel that way and what is it based on.
        Cognition is important. So you inspire discussion🤗💗🤪

  12. Good story, Terveen, and a sad one, indeed. I’ve known a few people who struggled with eating disorders and it seems like such a tormenting thing.

    • Thanks so much, Nick. 🙂
      It’s really a lonely struggle which not many can understand. So the help and support is limited.

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