Father, I would like your advice on something. I’m not quite sure what my faith tells me to do.
What is it, my Son? Let us sit by the shade of the tree. I put that concrete bench there myself, two decades ago now. The railing support came after, when it was evident the grandmothers were making us the money. Ah there! Go on, Son.
You see, I’ve just recently converted to your religion. I mean, Catholic… the thing. Anyway, so I started praying while looking at my mirror… It seemed to talk to me.
What do you mean by talking to you?
Maybe not literally at first, but I seemed to get ideas all of a sudden, like my reflection was a light bulb on top of my head, and I’d continue praying in front.
Are you worried that the reflection might do something to you? It’s just light, and Jesus is light. John 1. But you said it actually spoke? Once? Twice?
Everyday for the past six months. At least once a day.
Yeah, I’m pretty prone to food poisoning, especially Christmastime…
Okay, so where were we? The mirror. Yes. Well, you shouldn’t let it bother you really. You can just say a prayer, trust in Jesus to keep you safe. That, is that a medallion you have on?
Yeah at first I wore it to look cool, but…
Yeah, yeah, hold it as you pray in front of the mirror. Are you right-handed or left-handed?
Use your left hand then, to hold the Mama Mary scapulace. It keeps you more focused not to use your habitual hand.
Didn’t know you were so neurologically minded, Father.
Well, more psychos around, you know. Except they’re not really psychos. They’re what happens when we don’t look out for one another.
Right, I agree totally. So I’m just going to go now, reach for the Blessed Mother I’m wearing… Sounds doable.
Put your mind to it. Read some scripture first.
Got it! Bye now!
And another thing… Oh zounds, he can’t hear me anymore.
Father, it’s me, Lambert.
Are you new here?
No it’s me, with the, the mirror problem?
… Yeah, yeah, I remember, the mirror, how is it, the talking reflection right?
Yeah, well he doesn’t really talk.
… Your reflection doesn’t pray when you pray?
He brings in two naked women into the bathroom and proceeds to screw them. I mean, fornicate? Never met them before. I don’t look, but peripherally…
Do you hold the blessed images as it happens?
But what are you praying? You are praying, right?
I guess I was. I forget. The nudity’s distracting.
Well next time, have a prepared prayer. Read it if you have to, using your dominant hand to turn the pages. Or you might have one of those e-Bible devices…
You don’t seem too perturbed. Is this usual fare for you, parishioners with visions?
Hallucinations. I don’t confuse the ever-present Spirit, and His communion of saints, with the demonic substitutes that science tries to sell us. You’re having hallucinations, too wrapped up in your Neil Degrasso or whatever faddy science guy…
So I should… what?
Pray more. Mean it. You’re a child of God, you could always talk to Him, if You really want. He has many servants, Saint Teresa, Saint Francis, they’re all listening…
Okay, I hope they show up, or something.
Well? The hallucinations gone yet?
Now it’s the saints who show up. But only in the mirror. I ask Saint Maximilian Kolbe to meet me somewhere else, a church even, a bathroom mirror of a church even, and he still won’t show up.
I may have made a mistake, treating myself like a therapist rather than a priest. I will go to your house.
BY THE BATHROOM MIRROR
Thank You, my Lord and my God, for being here with us as we witness what goes on in the mirror… Oh there.
So it’s not just me. Good to know.
They’re telling me I’ve been of little faith. Perhaps.
I could hear them perfectly too! That’s pretty flattering, Father, that I’m the more faithful one between us…
We all make mistakes. Don’t knock others about it.
Yeah, you’re of so little faith, putting them to the test like that just now.
So it is so. Thank you, my dear saints, for being here, you know how this is not my usual experience. I’ve had fortuitous encounters in the past thanks to the lot of you but this, in front of you, is a special treat. It is an honor, I’ve learned to love you all, as you know, and I’d just like to shake each one’s hand if I may?
I’m just going to grab a bite in the kitchen, you’ll be okay? Father?… Oh well, I guess he’ll manage…
… And that’s why I made that vow at 14, but time dulls even the most solemn vows, so seeing you all like this, I’m rejuvenated… Oh, I’ve been a faithless fool for too long…
I first did the ‘weird thing happening in a mirror’ plot in my story ‘Motivational mirror’ found in my 2016 collection ‘Be kind to puns.’ Back then, my main inspiration was Julian Jaynes’ theories of consciousness.
Poor Jaynes. In his trying to adhere to some scientific ideal, he never quite opened his heart to the living presence of Christ, reducing the Gospel to neurological phenomena. I was stuck in a similar framework not four years ago, and I could say it’s no way to live.