This time the scenery was one of a solid family house, with flowerbeds in the front yard and a playground guarded by a magnificent cherry tree in the back. In deep contrast with the serenity of the place, the noises coming from inside were disturbing. The high pitched voice of the woman and the low baritone of the man were fighting furiously over something. After a few steps made in the direction of the house, the girl could see them well, standing in the room, facing each other. A silent and frightened child was standing between them, covering his ears with his hands.
-She’s my daughter, I want her to wear this ribbon in her hair! -shouted the mother. I want her to look pretty!
She dragged the child closer to her and she was about the tie the ribbon around the soft, hazelnut strands when the father intervened.
-She’s not more of a girl than he is a boy! Leave him alone! Come, Jordie, let’s go out. Here, I have a nice beret for you! I know these are your favorite colors!
He took the child by the hand and put the blue and green striped beret on his head. The mother watched him, shaking her head in disbelief.
-She’s my daughter….
-And he is my son- said dryly the father.
The child said nothing. He stood there, frozen in the wind of parental ambition, in the clash of wishes and wants, alone and scared. His tears were falling inwardly, in a world where he was safe and where he used to hide each time the tempest erupted around him. In that world, sounds were soft and people were friendly and no one pushed or dragged him, no one shouted at him for reasons he couldn’t comprehend. And while his parents continued to sneer and hiss at each-other, the child grew into the rebellious, wild teenager that was taking harder and harder the fights around him.
In the incessant rumble of angry voices, the scenery changed like a fragment of an old movie on celluloid melting under the hot touch of passing Time. The room was that of a teenager, with posters, music, a guitar…other things scattered in a very personal chaotic order. The inhabitant of the room was standing in front of a tall mirror, dark brown eyes fixing their dark brown reflection in a mix of anger and despair.
As much as I could see by now, it became clear that whoever that person in the mirror was, it wasn’t an average one. The changes in the outside, with their everyday challenges were matched by the complexity and elusiveness of its inner world. And the conflicts inside the house were just getting worse. The Jordie I’ve met was almost imperceptible inside the young person grabbing the frame of the mirror and with him, gone were the carefree laughters and joys of the age of innocence. A sense of loss engulfed me as I was standing outside the room and I wished I could find a soothing word for the troubled young before me.
A wave of angry shouts surged from somewhere and I saw the one in the mirror cringing in pain.
-Stop!! Stop it!!-shouted to the quarreling adults. Stop arguing over me! Leave me out of this! I am who I say that I am!!!
With an angry movement of the fist it hit its own the reflection, shattering the mirror. The powerful blow brought Time to a halt, resulting in an awkward, slow motion dance of the glittering shards of glass…To my deep astonishment, each splinter of mirror was carrying à different face. There were faces of men, women, children of various ages and features, dancing in the light, reflecting bits and pieces of a soul that has been broken gradually in time….These were the faces of the ones inhabiting that hidden inner world and now, they were released into the daylight and scattered into a world that wasn’t their home.
Just as quick, the motion reversed and the surface of the mirror wobbled, then quieted down, unharmed. The youth staggered, holding its pained fist. The mirror was intact. But it was empty. The pieces of the shattered child were gone. Heshe turned to me and I could read the question in the deep brown eyes:
-Do you remember me?
I woke up crying.