Glad to See the Back of You [Short Fiction]

Claude looked into the mirror, but all he could see was the back of his own head.  His reflection would not meet his gaze.  Claude waited, stared harder, but the reflection didn’t move.  How long had this been going on?  How long had his own reflection rejected him?

Claude was tempted to feel sorry for himself, but he pushed those feelings into submission.  Instead, he set his face to as stern an expression as he could muster (or at least he imagined it so), and said, slowly, “I don’t need you.  You cannot reject me.  I reject you.”  His reflection didn’t change.  His back just stood there, waiting.  So Claude continued.

“You want to judge me?  I reject your judgment.  You have no foundation.  Your message is meaningless.”  He got onto a bit of a roll.  “You opinion irrelevant, if not barbarous.  A stench in my nostrils.  If I could, I would pierce your heart with a sword, to rid the world of your ilk forever.”

The reflection stood silently…crushed by the eloquence of Claude’s vitriol, or simply uncaring, or not even comprehending–there was simply no way to know.

Claude kept going.  “I care neither for your approval nor your disapproval.  I do not reject your opinions, instead I reject your presence.”  And then after a moment, “No, indeed – I reject your very existence.”

Claude faltered then, looking at his feet.  He wanted to say more, to strike death into his hated reflection more decisively, but he wondered if he was beginning to repeat himself.  So he pondered his exit.  A last zinger highlighting his indifference?  An abrupt turning on his heels and stomping out?  Or even a laugh?  A random peel of laughter…yes?

But when he looked up back at the mirror, his reflection was gone.  Claude was alone.

In the distance, he could hear talking, chattering.  It came from the mirror.  The bathroom door was ajar, and he could see a bit of the lounge room.  He hadn’t noticed at first, but now he could see.  Friends sitting together–a small party, maybe.  His reflection was amongst them, still with his back to him.  Laughing, relating.

His own house was empty, though he didn’t care.  He left the bathroom, but he could still hear the social gathering in his mirror.  Occasionally his reflection cracked a joke and everyone would chuckle.  He could never make it out clearly, though.  Then they must have decided to go out because the group got up, turned off the lights and left.

Claude was left in the an empty and darkened apartment, with no sound but the muffled noise of traffic from outside.

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