The Velvet Mirror

 Leela Sriram

I’m not sure how this crushed velvet mirror ended up in my hands, but I know of the color
purple. My Grandmother once told me, on a warm December night that mirrors hold secrets
inside the ridges of the handle. Hand mirrors are the history of everyone who’s limber twitching
fingers have ever found solace in the violet etchings of leaves on a brass handle.
The package on my front doorstep sings in a baritone voice filled with cardboard brown. The
hedge clippers in my right hand are perfect for opening boxes reading “CAREFUL: FRAGILE.”
When I was seven years old, I had a recurring nightmare of endless boxes caught in an endless
loop. Boxes inside boxes, until all I saw was my reflection hidden inside a crushed velvet mirror,
my uvula swinging back and forth as if it were a tire swing. My hedge cutters reach a small thin
note reading “you are your own mirror, Grandma.”

The dog park across the street from my childhood home has turned into suede. I’m not sure
where all the hipsters with their vanilla lattes and vintage sunglasses came from. Their leather
boots and denim jackets stomp all over what was once a glistening green lawn. I used to sit on a
hill, now overrun with leather chaps and suede sneakers, watching the dogs chase tennis balls,
barking joyously. Now all I have left, is a violet velvet mirror in my right hand, and an orange
tennis ball in my left.

I can’t recall the day we got rid of our key-and-lock system and replaced it with an electronic
keypad. I keep a bowl of keys I’ve found on the street next to my bedside table,That way the
locksmith will have more business. My Grandmother never lost her keys, she always kept them
on a keyring attached to her velvet hand mirror. The keys in my bedroom are longer than they
were last week, maybe the world is just smaller.

The world is smaller than when I saw it last. My velvet mirror told me that my grandmother
passed away this Thursday. All my keys are scattered around my backyard. My dog is a shell of a
creature, his blank eyes blinking only every thirty minutes. I wish my mirror told the truth in
fragments. Shielding me with sharp translucent edges. Shards of glass cling to the hardwood
floor in my bedroom. Now I see myself behind my mirror, cold and blue, goosebumps hanging
tightly onto my skin

Leela Sriram is an author from San Francisco who specializes in blending the lines between prose and poetry. Her favorite writers are Shirley Jackson. Otessa Moshfegh, and Virginia Woolf. She is inspired by the obscure within the mundane, and she writes about all things uncanny. She has recently studied at CSSSA for writing at CalArts and wishes to continue her writing journey.

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