The Woodburys were the original owners of my home. The clan was wiped out when a mysterious illness swept through Maine over a century ago, and they chose to spend eternity together haunting the house they love so much.
I worked out a deal with my ghosts when I bought The House on the Hill. They could have the attic, and I would disturb them as little as possible.
This week, however, the Woodburys are off at a house haunting, so I have the place all to myself. The timing of their vacation couldn’t have been better because I really have to get up into the attic.
I need the advice of the one person who knows me better than anyone else in the world, and the only way to speak to him is by going up to where only ghosts dare tread.
That person, of course, would be me.
A few years ago, my favorite witches, who were worried that I would die single and alone, decided to conjure up a little company for me. They presented me with a magic mirror, so I could talk to my reflection whenever I needed human contact, but didn’t want to leave the safety of The House on the Hill.
Quite frankly, the mirror freaked me out. But I couldn’t tell that to Waltzing Matilda, Volcanica Ivy, and Ti-Diana, so I just hid it up in the attic, where I knew I’d rarely have an opportunity to interact with it.
Until recently, I wasn’t a real fan of how I looked, so I wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit to chat up my reflection on a regular basis.
Plus, something must have gone haywire when the witches whipped up the spell to make the mirror, because my reflection speaks to me in the heavy Brooklyn accent that I have spent decades trying to conceal.
Tonight, though, I needed the keen insights of my magic mirror, so I climbed the stairs to the attic, whipped off the sheet that protects the Woodburys from my peculiar gift, and finally addressed my long, lost reflection.
“Mirror, mirror on the wall, what the @#$%, dude?” I demanded angrily. “Why the hell am I still so miserable after I’ve worked so hard to get back into shape and be more positive. Seriously, what the @#$%?”
“Dude,” replied the very handsome reflection in a grating Brooklyn accent, “you’re pushing yourself way too hard, expecting too much too quickly, and not just enjoying life.”
Easy for him to say. He gets to hang out in a mirror all day and doesn’t have to deal with the stressors that haunt me on a daily basis.
“You look awesome,” my reflection informed me. “Do a little spin so I can see it all.”
I complied because I knew the accent would only get worse if I didn’t keep the man in the mirror amused.
“I know I look better, but I’m still single,” I grumbled.
“And when’s the last time you asked someone out, genius?” my reflection shot back like the know it all it totally was. “Besides, you ain’t gonna find love overnight, you know? You gotta take your time, let it find you, give the ladies a chance to get used to the new and improved Austin. You should wear shorts more, for sure, to show of those runner’s legs.”
I conceded that my reflection was probably right. I did need to slow it down a little. My desire to be in a relationship was putting way too much pressure on me. Dating should be fun, not like I’m desperately trying to hire someone to fill a lifetime partner position.
“You look exhausted,” my identical twin said rather bluntly. “No more walking tonight…”
I giggled and that stopped him mid-sentence.
“Did I say something funny?” he demanded.
“Everything you say is funny with that ridiculous accent, but words like ‘walking’ are just damn hilarious,” I made him aware.
“Go @#$% yourself, @$$%^&*. You came to me for advice, so just shut up and listen, and then you can throw that sheet over me again and vanish for another coupla years.”
The truth can be harsh, but there is no harsher truth than the one you tell yourself.
“No more walking tonight,” the guy from Brooklyn ordered. “You’re gonna get that diet ice cream out of the fridge, plop that runner’s ass down on the couch, and watch the Yankee game. Don’t stay up too late, but watch enough to remember why New York is so @#$%^& awesome! Don’t set the clock to get up early to run. You’re gonna sleep in, give your skinnier body some much needed and deserved rest, and take it easy tomorrow. Your body and your brain need to chill. Don’t even think about running or trying to get 20,000 steps. You hearing me? You think you can follow these simple instructions?”
I had to smile. This was exactly what I needed to hear, and since it came from someone I trusted so much, I was gonna…I mean…going to listen.
“You know me so well,” I admitted.
“Get the hell outta here,” my reflection barked. “I need my beauty sleep.”
“Don’t be such a goddamn stranger, alright?”
I nodded my agreement, put the sheet back in place, and headed for the stairs intent on following my instructions to the letter.
I’m so damn smart. I really ought to take my own advice more often…