The Decision

Author: R. J. Erbacher

I looked in the bathroom mirror but couldn’t see him. I saw just my reflection. My every-man, cleanshaven angular face. And the gold and lavender custom marble tiles of the wall behind me. The matching lavender Egyptian cotton towel draped over the heated drying rod. But not him.

It was getting harder to see him. The more space between the ‘decision’ and now…the fainter he became. Whereas in the beginning, he was right there. Every time I looked in the mirror, he was staring back at me. Exactly the same. Eventually, almost the same. Subtle differences that I could barely notice – but did. Then gradually, over time, more evident changes. The more he changed, the more I stayed the same; the harder it was to find him in the reflection.

I was afraid he had finally faded to gone. The gap bridging the decision and my current look-see into the mirror having elongated to the point of his dissolution. I lowered the Euro crystal light fixture to just above dim and squinted harder.

Nothing for several seconds, stretching to a half minute, then…

He was there. His face was pudgier than mine, three-day beard, more wrinkles around the eyes. Except those eyes were mine. And longer hair, unkempt, graying highlights at the temple. A nasty scabbed cut on one ear. In the mirror, the wall behind him was originally white square tiles that were now an unclean gray, two were cracked. The white matching towel was bunched on a hook and smudged with dirt. But he was there.

I stared. He stared back. I was irate with him. I always was. Because of the major divergence between us; my face was always a hard-emotionless line. And he was smiling.

8 Comments

  1. xdhz8

    We live with our decisions … figuratively and literally. Good piece.

    • rjerbacher

      Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  2. Glenn Leung

    What we could have been if not for the choices we’ve made. Now that is something that cuts me deep. Nice work as always, RJ!

    • rjerbacher

      Thank you, that’s quite a compliment. Much appreciated

  3. Hari Navarro

    Wonderfully written, RJ. I always wondered if Dorians portrait was more content than he… great stuff 🙂

    • rjerbacher

      Thanks. I was thinking more of Frost’s ‘road less traveled’ but I do like the comparison though .

  4. SimonJM

    Interesting: psychosis, technology …? Quite a visceral piece, despite the length. Nicely done.

    • rjerbacher

      Thank you. Life might just be all in your head.

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