The Mirrored Man: Part 2

The Mirrored Man: Part 2

A Story by Katie de Lavani

A much needed conversation with his blind father.


Once he arrived at his home on Kirkland Lane, Henry bid his driver goodnight and, ensuring no one was watching, bent over and climbed the steps like an ape. As his eyes hit the stairs on his four-limbed ascent, he was struck with a face he had never known, one of humility.

Walking straight was beginning to be less of a problem. When he entered his home, he ambled over to the lower level study. “Father!” he called out, watching himself march through the dimly lit hallway.

The blind man of sixty-six was adept in distinguishing the gamut of emotions by scale of intensity, tone. What he heard from his son’s voice was… fear? Perhaps it wasn’t his son for he had never translated this anxiety in the man before.

“Father,” Henry was at the door. “Father, are you in here? Hel- Oh, there you are.”

“Don’t tell me you’re going blind now, my boy. I’m in the middle of the room, how could you not see me?” The sightless man shifted in his chair, towards the origin of the voice.

“Father, I must tell you, something has happened to me. I know not of how it began nor do I know if it will ever end. But such a burden it is!”

“You in love, my boy?”

“Love? No, Father! We both know I have never seen the face of love. And-- after what has happened… I probably never will,” he cited in a rueful voice but then continued with exasperation. “Father, my eyes are no longer my own! I cannot see what is before me, but reflections. Wherever I look, I see myself"this man, this face! and what lies behind me. Everything has become a mirror! Father, your face is replaced with my own retched skin. I cannot see you but the back of your chair and a white head above it, then myself in this door. I cannot see!”

“Calm, my boy,” said the blind father, his voice coming out like wind over crumbled sandstone but harsh. The cracking of wood in the fire blanketed the ears for a moment. “You still have sight…” he resumed, “and you insult me to say such a gift is a loss. Be glad you can see at all. Besides, you are always going on about mirrors and mirrors. I know how you treasure your looks; I hear you go on when gazing at your reflection. One would believe that such a power would delight you-”

“But this is a curse!”

“And how many people have said as such!” The blind man had a sudden rush of passion in his voice, quite the opposite his usual taciturn manner. “You think you are the first to experience tragedy, an unexpected toss? ‘A curse’ you say! Ah! And oh, how you complain about yourself as if the world were to end. What a paucity of attention you have paid to anyone beyond your belittling eyelash. You’re a vacuous narcissist with a cohort of mirrors!”

“Sir!” Henry surged forward into the room, his black dress shoes muffled by the plush rug.

“What? What did you expect me to say when you come in here and finally had this deplorable conceit turned on your tail? You expect me to tell you how awful, how terrible it is? I’m rejoicing! Calling for a paean! Or, if you want, you can see it as helping you along the process.” Henry watched himself tip his head in confusion, a bar of water in his sizzling rage.

The father lowered his voice like he was explaining to a child. “You have been given this ability for a reason, Henry.”

“A reason!” he scoffed. “How absurd! I do not need to change!”

“Reflection, you say, is all you see, but how wrong you are! When have you ever ‘reflected’ your effect on others?”

“"But they all admire me…”

“’Admire!’ Young man,” his eyes, wiped of bold color, were held to the red and gold carpet without focus, “what a tenacious idea you hold in your head about your so-called ‘friends’.

“This power requires an end to bring about the exulted beginning. There are things you must do! You must recant your learning indolence and substitute it with worldly knowledge. Know that you cannot erase those indelible remarks stained on the people of this town, but you can try to understand their true behavior towards you and have reconciliation….” The judicious words carried the feeling of awakening from hibernation, like his father possessed words on his tongue for the past twenty years but never until now had the chance to utter them. He took a deep sigh, a curt cough at the end. “Son,” he brought his eyes to the space in the doorway, “in order to revert this-- gift, you must fulfill its intentions. What you need is some time to evaluate your life and such cannot be done in society.”

“Not in society…” Henry shifted under the wood carved ceiling to a defiant stance, the candlelight behind him wavering in the determined air. Watching himself grow hot with anger, Sir Cabbage felt that he was the sight his father never had. “’Not in society’. No, Sir. You twist this cursed affliction into a tool for your own use! You wish to push me out of this house, you always have. Well, Father, just because you cannot see-“

“Cannot see? I can see better than you, boy! How little one can learn! It is not the colors you take in which weighs the sight, but what you perceive in the environment around you. There is so much more beneath the surface of the sea than the reflection that lies upon it. You must plunge into the water, no matter how bitter it might taste.

“And though I have only spoken to few in this town, I know how they abhor your presence. You decimate their spirit! You divest their penny wishes! All you see is a fantasy, spooled by their extant desires. Sight, my boy,” he finished, “is a sense you have never possessed.”

Such a sinewy flush of words coming from the father was wholly astounding. The image of himself, stupefied, his face and coat distraught, was one that would be inked on Henry’s memory for calendars to come. “And this how you always thought of me.” he asked with a nod, each word carried over like a queried crumb on an ant’s back.

“This is how you’ve always been… since-”

“Mother’s death,” he completed. “And how I wonder why such was. Both my parents were buried into the earth that day! You were never a father to me, just a sickened chair occupying grievances. You had no interest in the life of your son! You speak that I have never learned, but you, Sir, have never taught!”

“How can a bird teach a lion how to fly?” the father rasped vehemently. “How can a reflection move from intangible bonds without the reflector breaking his gaze?” He put his fingers to his thumb, palm up, eyes at the chin of his child. “A bird cannot teach a lion how to fly because the lion does not wish wings; he is content with his being. The lion believes that he is of greater power than the bird; he has no need for wings because he may bring them down with surreptitious claws. So, to protect itself, the bird avoids the beast. For fear of wasting time. For fear of being attacked. A lion does not dream to be prey, my son, even if the prey possesses something as grand as flight.”

“You say I cannot change,” Sir Cabbage asserted. “Why, then do you spark your hope this day?”

“I thought perhaps,” the father brought his voice down in a loss, “that if the lion saw through the eyes of his prey, he would understand his game of torment. He would want to distance himself from that wild beast and unearth his potential. But now, I see that this beast will never change. He has never dreamt nor will he ever.”

“How insensible you are, Sir, to my condition,” the son wailed.

“Your condition, boy, is your incorrigible behavior! Why did you come to me this night? Why do you confide in only me? It is because you have no one else!” he drove a finger through the air at the form before him. For Henry, it protruded from his sheet of reflection, spotted limpid skin, thin enough for one to see the heart wrenching veins and gnarled bone. “You have no one else. You come to the man you for years avoided to dump problems and you still maintain everyone admires you? My boy, where is your sense?” he asked almost pleadingly.

Henry felt pummeled by words. Truth. He stumbled back into the chair opposite his father, clenching and relaxing his hands on the cushioned armrests.

Finally given the time to think, Henry flashed back to his experience earlier that night. As he was being guided through the ballroom, he had seen something. Faces, they were the vessel of his eyes; some busy and focused, conversing with those around them. However, when they caught a glimpse of his person, oh how their eyes would narrow and mouths would twist. And he could see himself, how almond eyes observed their guest. Shoulders back and square, a haughty jaw, and overconfident stride. Of course he hadn’t his high arched brows, silently snickering at puny lives that evening; he was injured.

Then, covering a wider distension of time, he attempted to identify his confidants, close friends. Of course he had some, yes. Yes, of course... Too many to count, in fact! What a preposterous idea that any man on earth could be so lacking in alliances for social circles. But Henry filed through and through the accounts of his high nosed life and found… nothing. No one ever sought him out. No one ever waved him down through the accumulated masses. He had no one. Not even a pet would stand his brooding moods.

Then he realized. His father was right all along. A jagged rock scraped menacingly from heart to stomach.

Even so, his pride would not permit such a defeat. Sir Cabbage sighed heavily and flexed his fingers from the armchair, sneaking a glance at his father’s face, the pinched skin around his eyes. Those cheeks were set in a satisfied victory, waiting for his Henry to delineate that his father had extracted the obvious life of vanity.

“You are wrong, Sir,” he told the cheeks in a stale tone.

Sir William nodded slowly, his pupils resting on the rumbling heat of the fire. He understood his son was lying, but also understood that the man would need to accept it on his own terms before such a phrase could become heartfelt. “Well then,” he raised his chin, “go to them. Tell them of your troubles, my son. Perhaps they will offer more help than I.” He seemed to retreat down a thread of subconscious, no longer listening to anything around him, but to his heart or a memory.

Henry watched himself fidget in the chair, sliding thumb and forefinger down the sides of his jaw, suddenly regretting his egotistic lie. But the something stirred in Sir Cabbage, some burning desire be to right over the words of his father. He sprang out of his chair, “I will, father.” I will prove you wrong.

With that he left the study, observing himself striding out of the room, his father’s dejected face staring into the ballet of fire. But, just before he rounded the corner, Sir William looked up from his loss and Henry perceived a rarity, hope.

© 2011 Katie de Lavani

Author's Note

Katie de Lavani
Review are much appreciated! The next part will hopefully be out soon!

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Added on July 18, 2011
Last Updated on July 18, 2011


Katie de Lavani
Katie de Lavani


Hi. Nothing much to say about me. I'm always looking for a good story in my life and sometimes base the stories I write on real life experiences. I love to read others writing to see just how horrible.. more..

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