“I don’t want to go to an open house in our neighborhood.  The pictures are weird, and so is ‘for sale by owner’,” said DeeDee, though she zipped up her white fleece.

“If you charm the owner into selling at cost, we can fast-track our future,” replied Grant, locking their apartment door behind them, as they took a hopeful stroll across town.

A husk of a woman swayed curbside alongside a family’s worth of belongings, a whole house interior and domestic timeline jumbled, boxed, bagged and brought out for trash.  

“Hi, we’re here for the open house!”

“Go in,” her foggy eyes seemingly surveyed 20 feet ahead, or maybe 20 years behind, a glimmer of cloudy memory passing through rats nest hair, a mess of house clothes frayed and on the fringe.  “I’m the Sole Proprietor.”

As DeeDee and Grant passed up the paved path, a whip-thin hand gripped DeeDee’s wrist, and the young lady locked eyes with the Sole Proprietor, who was suddenly present, her stormy cataracts a wet grey mask in a dry package of thin skin. “Explore the space.  I’ll be out here, beside my belongings, waiting to be picked up,” she said, removing her hand slowly.

The classy black lacquer door was open a crack.  Filled with broad beams of natural light, rooms were empty of even curtains, nail holes dotting walls with empty reminders of décor, photos, memories, and lives. 

Grant veered toward the kitchen as DeeDee went up the stairs to the design decision that originally whetted her curiosity: the long mirror hallway that connected the rooms.

DeeDee stepped up the stairs, her reflection coming into view from the crown of her head, forehead, face, throat, body, boots – her whole self – in crisp clarity, stunned into stillness at the top of the flight of stairs from the multitude of reflections in the vaulted landing.  DeeDee felt vertigo:  It was unthinkable to see yourself from so many angles at once, as well simultaneously down the stairs, because the chandelier was made of soldered mirror, and the ceiling was covered as well, an impossibly controlled Cubist confusion shattering outlines.  Through the tarnished refraction, DeeDee saw like a periscope to the hidden hallway of her innermost soul, driving surreal, corporeal, silver splinters deeper.  

The reflective precious minerals in the silver mirror were extruded, manufactured, polished into a smooth uniform surface, which was once untouched elementally on its own was now excavated, industrialized, designed and hung, existing only to for others to see themselves, an echo chamber of layered activity hungering for human spark.  

The calm silver surfaces swirled molten metallic, surrounding DeeDee with a pulsating veneer, fragmenting into deepening dirty shadows, a heavy black cloak of shards tethering her to examine her own discomfort, absorbing everything about her humiliating humanity and higher self to ignite its own sterling aura. 

DeeDee tumbled backward down the plush padded steps, seeing herself tumbling, breaking stairs, staring as she fell and tore from the umbilical grip of the mirror hallway.  Crashing back into her cranium when her head landed on the dusty boot of the Sole Proprietor when it should have cracked and splattered onto the floor.

DeeDee lay on her back with her head bolstered, transfixed on her distant self in the ceiling and forevermore hallway mirror, a flat and far-away impression of a three dimensional person compressed into a singular finish, spread thin. 

The Sole Proprietor’s eyes met DeeDee’s in the deep dominion of the upward expanse, the spark of humanity gone into the abyss of blind devotion to reflection.  

 By Dena Merlino Scott, Halloween 2022