by on April 1, 2023 :: 0 comments

photo "Metallic Mirror" by Tyler Malone

Robert awoke into a mirror world. Everything was the opposite of what it had been, and yet exactly the same. The sun was rising in the west, yet hadn’t it previously risen in the east? Or had it always been the way it was today and he was just confused? At least it wasn’t rising in the north or south.

Robert arose from the right side of the bed. But wasn’t that the wrong side? Hadn’t he always slept on the left? His wife lay peacefully asleep on what seemed the dark side of the moon, while their orange marmalade cat, Tammy, bounded from the bed—the white streak on her left flank appeared to have moved to the right. And hadn’t she been a he before? Hadn’t her name—or was that his name—been Matty? Perhaps she, he, it, or they was still a male—Robert didn’t want to stoop and investigate to find out. Nevertheless, he was almost certain that he, himself, had always been a he, although a faint corner of his mind remembered, or imagined, himself (or herself) as Roberta.

The door that had always been positioned at the foot of the bed remained at the foot, but in the opposite corner of the room. Robert threw on his bathrobe and followed Tammy’s dainty steps. Breakfast time. He paused, wondering where the cereal was, then found it at the bottom right of the cabinet, not the top left. From an amply stocked refrigerator (the freezer was somehow on the right side, so he had opened it first by mistake), with fruits and vegetables jammed in the crisper at the top, he scooped out a carton of almond milk.

It was that way all morning. The couch where he ate breakfast was now at the far side of the family room, necessitating a slightly longer walk. He had to investigate the remote to turn on the morning news as the power button was now at the middle bottom, not the top, and the numbers seemed strangely backwards. The very dimensions of the house, while the same size-wise, were somehow different. The staircase now went up, not down. Following it, he found that the comfortable den in the basement was now in the attic. Nicely, it was sunny, not dark. Surveying the house, he realized that there was, in fact, no basement, although there had been no attic before.

Robert wondered if all this stemmed from a return of the dyslexia that, he suspected, had plagued him since childhood, although it had never been diagnosed. After all, he had been the second slowest reader in the class—although now he somehow remembered himself as the second fastest.

At least the physical world hadn’t itself turned upside down. The ceiling remained above, as it had always been, and the floor below. It seemed likely it was only his perceptions that had changed and everything was, in fact, exactly the same as it had ever been, in this stable world. Perhaps it was something he ate, or strange dreams, that had temporarily altered appearances. Soon, everything would be back to normal, the way it always was, always had been. There was comfort in that thought, and Robert felt Tammy rub up against him as if to affirm a world of certainty and love.

One thing for sure was stable, and that was time itself. What a funny thing it would be if time went in reverse so that he remembered the future instead of the past.

Fortunately, as before, the country’s leader appearing on the morning news remained Joseph Biden who had governed over a period of relative prosperity—at least compared to the deprivation of Robert’s earlier years. He could remember nine previous presidents of the United States. Things were getting better, though still far from perfect. In the years since Robert’s childhood and youth (or was that old age?), there had been a noticeable lessening of the floods, hurricanes, fires, and other environmental disasters decimating the planet. Robert even remembered the reign of the very first U.S. president, an Asian lesbian, when the nation had somehow emerged out of the ruins of a nuclear catastrophe.

editors note:

Today is yesterday, and yesterday, well, that’s always going to be tomorrow. We get it, we have to. We lived already. ~ Tyler Malone

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