To Catch a Falling Mirror


I keep a journal, but I don’t write in it often. I only write on special occasions, such as my birthday, or when I’m on a vacation like the Chengdu trip this recent March, or when I’m sad. Every journal entry captures a mood. It could be “sad,” “happy,” “angry,” or “Today’s a fine day,” or simply “OK.”

There’s this one day, however—April 24, 2016 to be exact—that my mood looks like this:

Mood: very very very sad.

Sad because on this very day, a mirror came crashing down on me—well, almost.

I had been in Melbourne during this time for about three months from the March holidays to the middle of the mid-year break. My mother was studying there as part of a two-year program sponsored by her company. I took the opportunity to flee from school in Singapore to experience school life in Ivanhoe East Primary School, an international school in suburban Melbourne.

We were putting up in a cosy little terraced house with a small, cramped, and not-so-cosy bathroom. On this April 24 night after my shower shortly after dinner, I had toweled dry, put on my pajamas, and was going to get my comb. It sits on the lowest left shelf in a mirror cabinet with a double sliding mirrored panel, both of which are old and cranky, their ball-bearings running on one long strip of rusted metal. Some days, I need a remarkable amount effort to slide the left panel before I can get to my comb. Other days, it glides like a breeze.

That “very very very sad” evening, I pressed my palms against the mirror, sliding and pushing at the same time, anticipating this was going to be a rusty and creaky night, rather than a smooth-like-a-breeze one. Alas, it decided I was a little too rough, and it fell on me in revenge.

For a split of a second, I saw it coming down on me and I just blocked it with my hands, damp and warm from my bath. I was dumbfounded, waiting for the entire panel to crack. Some bits of the corner had fallen off, and on the edge of the mirror, at the top and bottom, little veins of cracks had formed.

The tears came, and a strange fear. Mommy and Daddy, they’re sure going to kill me. They are the last people I would tell about my misfortune, but they happen to be the very ones who could get me out of it. They weren’t exactly the most prompt rescuers though. I must have screamed forever, my poor cheeks streaked with pitiful tears.

When Daddy finally showed up, he took over that arduous and precarious job of propping the mirror. As I shuffled behind him to safe territory, he slid the entire panel towards the right so that it would come crashing down safely in the bathtub.

The noise was terrifying, but what was more terrifying was this: would Mommy and Daddy punish me for breaking the mirror? I was silly, of course. Why would they?

(520 words)


Therese Lee, Primary Five
April 2017

For more essays by Therese, visit Therese Writes.

This essay was written in response to three boxed pictures, of which Therese chose the one featuring a broken mirror.

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Mirrors Are Made For Preening


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