For years, decades even, the thought of something else mimicking you sent chills down your spine. Not another human, or maybe, yes, another human. Mimicking your exact movement at just the right time, in just the wrong way. For some, many, this can be annoying but it takes a special soul to turn that into a panic. Fast.
Horror films adapted to the fear of your mimic, your doppelgänger, in as many ways as possible. Even the fear of your own twin. Evil twin? Evil twins? Something about a carbon copy of ourselves doing exactly what we're doing kind of messes with us. Then, horror took a new approach when it came to our most personal twin, aside from our own twins, and that was our reflection. Yes, the reflection... we stare at it. We make faces. We cry. We do just about anything, so its no wonder something is out there learning everything to its very detail. Our reflection knows everything. Horror films utilized this and then they took a turn that we weren't expecting... they changed our routine.
Our reflections following our every move, and then it blinks when we don't. It moves when we're still. It stops and smiles when we're brushing our hair. It does what it wants and in that moment, horror reminded us that maybe leaning in that close to floss our teeth isn't such a good idea. I would always cringe in movies where the character opens a medicine cabinet and when they close it, their reflection is something horrific. Yeah, I hate that, too. I always said that if my reflection did any of that, I would probably lose my mind. My reflection, just like your reflection, knows everything about me so of course if it ever did what it wanted to do, I'd be doomed.
I don't think that day will ever come, though.
As long as I could remember, my reflection has always been a bit timid. I try showing other people but, they just don't see what I see. My reflection isn't running around acting deviously. If it could run, if it were brave enough to run, I bet it would. My reflection, it doesn't look at me. When I walk past the mirror it shields its face, or sometimes it stares straight forward. Careful not to look at me as I pass. When I stand in front of it to dress, it closes its eyes. Still doing what I'm doing, it just keeps its eyes closed. One day I jumped at the mirror and as if it had no choice like a reflection should; it did the same but its eyes were averted. When I looked closer, it was panting. I stepped away, it did too. Eyes still narrowed at the floor.
"What's your problem?" I finally asked one day. Of course, I got no answer because I wasn't answering. It IS my reflection, after all. If I don't answer, who will? I would tell others when I was a child that my reflection won't look at me. They'd laugh and say it was because I was so ugly. I had become angry. Not because of the insult but I was serious. It wouldn't. It wouldn't look at me.
I tried to scare it one night. I hid beneath the sheet, walked over to my mirror and snatched the sheet off. It was shaking. Visibly shaking. Panting. Its head turned away from me but it couldn't run because I wasn't running. There was something empowering about torturing it like this. When I was down on my luck I would drink heavily. My drunken reflection would wobble just as I did, still frightened by me. I figured maybe one day if I were drunk enough... maybe it would become brave enough to look at me. It never happened.
Today, I finally got someone to see it. I was so bent on getting someone to notice that I dragged a co-worker into the bathroom and after a quick explanation, I shouted, "look!"
I then turned their body to the mirror and as I looked, it closed its eyes. I stared at my co-worker who looked at me stammering, "Did you see that?"
My co-worker nodded, then looked in the mirror, becoming pale, "I see... I believe you, but why is it backing away?"
"What?" I turned to look at my reflection as it carefully took its steps backward. My heart was racing; it was looking at us.
"Why is it backing away?" my co-worker asked again, but I couldn't answer. I didn't know why it was backing away. It backed up until it went into a stall and locked it, we were stunned. I was speechless, my co-worker's eyes were darting left to right trying to understand what just happened, and then the stall behind us opened.