The Face in the Mirror
by Paddy Mendham
“Is that a new picture that you’ve got in the hall? I’m sure that I haven’t seen it before, although the person in it seems vaguely familiar. Where did you get it? No, I don’t want to buy another painting, especially not a portrait. What do you mean: ‘We haven’t got a picture in the hall’? I saw it when I came in just now.”
I think I’ll go back a few minutes and start again. I was beginning to feel quite dizzy and I thought that I must be dreaming. Now I’ll just stand here a while and gather my thoughts. I didn’t sleep very well last night but I remember checking my diary and we were definitely meeting for a coffee. Then we can spread any tittle tattle that we’ve come across and put the world to rights. It’s also your turn for the biscuits and I love those M&S specials that you normally have.
Now, where were we? I know, I’d just come into your hall and I saw something new out of the corner of my eye. Yes, that’s it; I saw that rather sad looking picture on the wall, just past the hallstand. I’m sure it wasn’t there last week. Yes, the one with the light oak frame. What do you mean, you haven’t got a new picture? I saw it. Ah, I see that you do remember it and it is new, isn’t it?
“What do you mean, it’s not a picture or a portrait, it’s a mirror? It can’t be. Oh, I see what you’re getting at. You’re teasing me and pretending that I was looking at myself. Very good, that’s well worth an extra biscuit and I’m sure that you’ll like this bit of news that I’ve just heard. You’re still saying that it’s a mirror. But that means that that poor old sod staring out at the world really is me. I’m sure that I don’t look like that. My hair isn’t completely grey and I definitely haven’t got a huge bald patch and I’ve never had a double chin. Although, come to think of it, I did nick myself when I was shaving this morning and the chap on the wall has a cut in the same place as mine.”
“Why don’t you come and stand next to me? Yes, just here, in front of the picture.”
“Well, I must say that that other person in your new picture looks remarkably similar to you and you’re each wearing the same clothes. Well, this really has come as a shock to me. Although I must admit that I don’t stand and admire myself in the looking glass like I might have done a few years back. But surely, I can’t have changed so much that I couldn’t even recognize myself? Actually, you don’t look too bad, well actually you look pretty smart and with it, not like that person standing next to you. I almost feel like giving up the ghost but I’m not going to. Perhaps you can help me put together a plan to revive something of the old me. But to start with, how about that coffee, and perhaps a couple of those special biscuits. Yes, those thick, dark black, chocolate ones.
“That was quick and that tray looks fabulous and the smell of the coffee is beginning to make me feel better already. Now, I’ve had some thoughts and perhaps you can tell me if you think they stand a chance of working. One of the ways that I could improve my appearance would be to cut out snacks between meals and to do away with chips and fried breakfasts. Then those regular trips to the pub should become irregular ones; maybe go from three or four times a week to just once on Fridays or Saturdays. I think that my wardrobe needs a spruce up as well. I really should get rid of some of my old clothes. Some of my jeans and sweaters look as though they came out of the ark, well they’re probably more than ten years old and even I think they’re old fashioned.
“What do you think of it so far? Yes, I know I’ve still got to actually do it but don’t you think that this stands a chance? What do you mean, I ought to go to the gym and my old golf clubs should see the light of day again? This all seems rather drastic and to think that I’m only thinking about all this because of your new mirror!”
(c) Paddy Mendham 2020