He didn’t quite know why he had purchased the 10x magnification vanity mirror from Bed Bath and Beyond, but there it was on his bathroom counter. It was an impulse purchase, especially more so since he was a bachelor. It was a 6-inch mirror, one of those concave ones that make the world appear all upside-down until you got really close to it, and then it would show you yourself up close and personal.
It would please his girlfriend whenever she visited, he supposed.
And, he supposed, it would help him trim the hair that stuck out of his nose. It did. That was the first thing he did with it. What a great amount of detail it exposed. The perfectionist in him was pleased, once the job was done.
He played with the mirror before brushing his teeth in the night. He noticed how his usual bathroom mirror always showed him a guy who was standing three or four feet away. This mirror demanded closeness, and in return it gave closeness. Distance was not tolerated.
Gosh, were his teeth really that yellow? And what was that between his teeth? Hmm, time to floss…
Then he noticed how dry his lips were. And the skin around his lips. Must apply some ghee before going to bed…
And the stubble. What would have passed as acceptable after a casual look in his usual bathroom mirror was beginning to look a little shabby when examined closely in this mirror.
The pock marks from the chicken-pox he had had as a child were still there on his cheeks, even after 23 years.
He could see worry wrinkling his skin around the cheeks, where his face muscles weren’t relaxed. He deliberately relaxed them. Relaxed his forehead. Let the skin slowly stretch itself out back to its smooth evenness.
And once all these preoccupations were out of the way, he started to look into his own eyes.
The whole world had gone away. His face filled the 6-inch circle, and was magnified 10-fold. Nothing else was visible to his eyes, and nothing else was occupying his mind. He got his first ever good look at himself, up close and personal.
How odd that he had been looking at himself in a mirror daily for years, for the purpose of combing his hair or shaving. Other than achieving these mundane objectives, he never really had a use for mirrors. He had never really seen his own face.
He was seeing it now. He liked what he saw. He was fascinated.
He resolved to look at it and love it often.
Slowly he broke out into a grin. Wow — what a comic and gleeful look! And then he wrinkled his nose. How funny! Slowly he furrowed his brow, raised one eyebrow, pouted his lips, wiggled one ear.
His whole being broke out in laughter like never before.