Mirrors Are Made For Preening

Preening ain’t girlie, it’s vital (Image: istockphoto by Getty Images)

ACCIDENTS can happen at home anytime. You could drop an egg on the floor, or boil over your porridge. Once, I tried warming fridge-hard chocolate in a microwave for slightly over a minute only to realize too late that it had exploded. Then there are those types of accidents that involve broken glasses. These are the nastiest and the meanest, especially when they come from smashed mirrors.

I used to have a full-length standing mirror in my bedroom, but not anymore. Sometime last year, it shattered to bits, my favorite mirror, the one with a stylish contemporary white frame—all thanks to Miss Klutz.

It happened on a Sunday morning after a pancake breakfast. I was in my bedroom preening, brushing and braiding my hair. “It’s Sunday,” I thought, “why don’t I wear a pretty bow on my hair, that red one Auntie Germaine got me?” I fingered through my box of hair clips, ribbons and such, which sits on my chest of drawers, on the far right corner beside my wooden coin bowl.

Dig, dig, dig, where is that bow? I tipped the box over, and as I spread all my accessories across the bureau top in search of it, I pushed my coin bowl to the corner, a little bit too aggressively that it tipped right over.

What a jingling mess! The coins made tinkling noises even as they rolled everywhere, under the bed, across the room, between my feet, and right behind my standing mirror edged up close to the corner wall, just by the bureau.

I got down on all fours picking up the coins, and with the help of a broom, I swept out the coins from under the bed, but when it came to those behind the mirror, the broom was of little help. I squeezed my way in, without thinking that I could well have pulled the mirror out. I curled myself into a ball, squatted awkwardly, and picked the coins up one by one. Easy!

But the moment I stood up, my shoulder bumped into the back of the mirror. As if in protest, it decided to topple backwards, face down. I held my breath. Too late!

Crash came the shards of glass! This time, the broom would come in handy for something else. Miss Klutz had become a cry baby, even though she hadn’t suffered a cut at all. It was too awful, her favorite mirror all smashed up. And when her parents stood at the room door, she bawled even harder.

“Don’t you move,” said my father.

“Stay there,” said my mother, who tiptoed into the room to pick up the broom.

When the mess was cleared, and a proper goodbye was said to my mirror, my parents said, “OK, no more standing mirror for you.” From that day on, I had to preen in my bathroom, and for some strange reason, I never ever wore that bow Auntie Germaine gave me again.

(495 words)

***

Chia Xin Yu, Primary Five
July 2017

For more essays by Xin Yu, visit Xin Yu Writes.


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

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To Catch a Falling Mirror

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