Where She’s Safe

She looks in the mirror but it might as well be a photograph of a stranger. The blue eyes hide pain, secrets, and horror. The hair as tangled as her life, as dry and brittle as her heart. The lines on her face, the wrinkles that tell lies of her age, are like a map to nowhere anyone wants to go. The arms that once held loves – babies and lovers – are like sticks that might snap if she tried to hold anyone now. Her empty womb once held dreams and hopes. Her legs barely hold her, but that’s okay. She won’t be up for long. She brushes her fingertips over the mirror, touching the reflected eyes that are dry and red, wondering who, exactly, they belonged to. Surely not herself? If they were her eyes, they’d be twinkling, smiling. Then she remembers, and the picture in the mirror shakes her head as she does. No more smiling, no more twinkling, just emptiness and pain, forever more. She blinks, shuttering her view, and the descent into madness begins anew. There’s no place in the real world now, no reason for being. In madness, there are no memories, no pain. There is no her.