Tuesday, September 17, 2013


We discovered the mirror in the early days of our marriage. Those were the days when we felt the need to economize, the days when our relatives held secret conversations in their living rooms about how tight-fisted we were with our money. The mirror was displayed on a wall in Woodwards Southgate, on the second floor, at the top of the escalator. “There’s a beautiful mirror here,” David said as we stepped off. “Come and touch it.” The mirror was a tall and skinny thing. It would have been four-sided, had the corners not been angled to form eight. Approaching it with a giggle, I imagined myself planting a fingerprinted hand squarely in its centre, an act which would surely have been disdained by my mother. But alas, it was the mirror’s ornate edges he wanted me to touch. The reflective surface was bordered by small rectangles of cut mirror, fit together like puzzle pieces, the joins smoothed by fancy sculpted gold-coloured metal. At each of its eight corners there was a small gold flower. “Shall we buy it?” I queried. I could not imagine buying it, but it was unusual for him to be drawn to such a frivolous thing. “No,” he said. The price tag read “$237.00.” The mirror hung in Woodwards for many years, waiting to greet us. I used to wonder if it missed us when we were on vacation. Every few weeks we would go to Woodwards and ride the escalator to the second floor, sometimes just to visit it. “Shall we get it?” I would query. “No,” he would say. But there came a time when the ride up the escalator was filled with anxiety. Store displays do not last forever. What if, one day, we rode the escalator up and faced—faced something else other than the mirror? The moment of truth finally arrived. We bought the mirror. One big purchase deserves another. We also bought fuzzy tactile wallpaper—the kind that costs more than paint. We hung the paper on the wall at the top of our front stairs and strategically placed the mirror upon it so that it would greet each person who climbed the steps. Sometimes I would stand before it and run my fingers along its fancy edges, always a little surprised that I, a blind person with a reputation for frugality, had spent $237.00 on a mirror.

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