Thursday 6 December 2018

Cracks in the Mirror

By Sally Angell

Open the door. Make an entrance. You’re good at that!  
I’ve rehearsed this moment so many times, whenever passing a reflective surface, trying to get back into role. It’s like putting on an old dress, or rather skirt and blouse. There she is, that girl you used to know. But getting into her head again is another matter.
She’s still shadowy, Maddy, in the background behind the stronger image of Adele who is me, myself, today. How to get Now Me to morph into Then Me? It’s doing my head in. I’ve been hyperventilating at night. ‘No no no.’
Is it worth it? When the e-invitation arrived, my fingers hovered over Delete. It was a long way to travel in winter. And you heard horror stories about these old girls’ reunions. But I knew I would go. It’s some masochistic need. I’ve read about this Exposure Therapy. Bite the bullet, face the fear full on. Exorcise those demons for good.
So I RSVP’d back, accepting. And a few panic attacks ago bumped the Audi through the gateway of St. Helena’s, into the playing fields. I mean car park. With the reduced outdoor lighting, I felt I’d stepped into one of those dark Noir dramas, where present and flashback scenes are confused.
“Hi.” Other figures were emerging from cars, in a swish of skirts, jeaned legs, the flash of an earring. For these occasions, it was dress to impress ­ ‘see how successful/happy/normal I have turned out.’
I waved, but rounded the corner alone to the school façade, its familiar architecture stark against black sky. Gothic turrets towered like a portent in one of the nineteenth-century novels we had to pretend to understand on long sleepy, hormonal English Lit afternoons. I was re-entering the haunting landscape of a thousand fevered dreams. 

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