The following piece is my response to the Sandbox Writing Challenge 2018 — Exercise 1 where the spelunking in the Cave of my Soul expert Impromptu Promptings encouraged us to:
“You find yourself in a quiet room looking at your reflection in this beautiful old mirror. What do you see? Is there anything in particular you like about yourself? Is there anything you don’t like? Tell us about it.”
I hope this exercise allows for a second bite of the cherry.
THIS ESSENCE OF ME
Kelvin M. Knight
This mirror may be old but my future is untold. I love tracing these intricate patterns with my forefingers. I hate glancing into the mirror at that person whose dark eyes are studying me. Better to feel every dent and groove of this gilt-covered wooden frame, from the gently arcing bottom to the crown-like top, clockwise then anticlockwise. There is a significance here, I know, something that will not long escape me.
I cannot escape me. Not here. Not now. I must look at myself: not a glimpse to check my hair isn’t sticking up before heading to work, and not furtive glances on those rare occasions that I shave, to check I haven’t left too many unsightly hairs around my lips or on my chin. I must look long and hard at myself. I must.
Why must I? Because this sandbox exercise requires it? Because my readers demand it? Or because I feel the time is right?
The time is never wrong. There is nothing to hide. Not on the outside and certainly not on the inside.
I am naked. That is the first thing I see. Naked yet strong. A strength in my legs, my arms, my chest, my shoulders which ripples to be used. I have always been strong. There I have said it. Now I see a trumpet at my lips and hear this discordant sound.
My hands jump to my ears, then slide over my eyes. Carefully, I peer through the gaps in my fingers. Still my strength is there. I have always been strong. For as long as I can remember I have always found a way to get along with this strength while still remaining gentle.
A gentle giant. That’s what I see. A gentle giant who is observing me calmly, contentedly. There are none of the dark stares I feared, no snarls, no baring of teeth, no flashing eyes, no muscles grinding my bones.
There is a smile. A welcoming smile. Revealing my off-white teeth, but not the gap for the tooth that was tugged out. A real knee in my chest dentist moment. Honestly.
There is a warmth in my eyes that surprises me. Because that warmth isn’t for me. This warmth is for others. For those I meet on my journey through life. For those I bump into as I cycle round and round this village we call home. For those I listen to who can never see me, who can never know me, but they can hear it, know it, if they listen, if they concentrate. That smile within me. That gentleness of my soul. That strength. This essence of love.