With anxious, graceful steps, Susanne Dubois walked to the mirror in the hallway. She fidgeted with her hair as she paced, holding it in place with one hand while she attempted to reposition her bobby pins with the other. She had not pinned it well enough initially, and now she could feel her hair gradually slipping off of her head.
Mr. Dubois was settled in the living room. Already dressed and ready to leave for the restaurant, he was neither surprised nor irritated that Susanne was making them late. He had propped his feet up on the coffee table, picked up the paper, and made himself comfortable as he waited for Susanne to finish preening herself.
“Just give me a second to fix my hair.” Susanne was already worried that they might arrive too late to claim their reservation. Her husband murmured, “Mm-hm,” but did not take his attention away from the business section of the day’s paper. His favorite stocks were starting to dip.
She brushed off her silky blue dress quickly, and thought about blotting her lipstick. When she arrived at the mirror to fix her hair, her eyes met with her reflection. Pudgy-cheeked and missing a tooth, the mirror reflected a young girl, eyes an impish blue.
“Oh for Pete’s Sake!” Susanne exclaimed.
“What is it now?”
Her hair slumped further down as she let go of it altogether. “Darling, the mirror’s running slow again.”
“You just need to wind it more often, Sue.”
Susanne took the golden-framed mirror off of the wall and began winding the mechanism on its backside. “I wound it just last week. The darn thing’s broken, Frank.”
Once Susanne heard the crystalline ticking of its gears, she hung it back up on the wall hastily. Gazing into it, she saw her makeup, full-tooth smile, and mature face once more. While she finally repined her hair in an elegant bun, Mr. Dubois promised, “I’ll take a look at it this weekend then.”
“I think we need a new one.”
Her husband got off of the couch and shoddily folded the paper back up. He went to his wife, who was still scrutinizing her reflection. “We’ll worry about the mirror later. We’ve got to get going, Sue.”
“Yes, yes,” Susanne agreed, reluctantly taking her eyes off of her reflection and hurriedly grabbing her coat. “Let’s go, Frank, or we’ll be late.”
As she headed out with her husband, Susan lightly touched the corner of her eye. Carefully, so as not to smudge her makeup, she felt for the crow’s feet she had seen in the mirror, but there was no way to tell whether her skin really was starting to wrinkle with age, or if she had merely wound the mirror too much in her haste.
I wrote this a few years back and published it soon after as my first-ever short story, but it remains one of my favorites. I thought I would share it all with you. I’ve always loved mirrors, especially as they have the potential to manifest in speculative fiction. Cheers!