One gloomy day on my way to the Park Street Subway station, I walked through Boston Commons and felt a tug on my arm. I turned to see a girl dressed like a gypsy. She motioned for me to follow her. For some strange reason, I felt I didn’t have a choice but to do as she commanded. She sat on a bench concealed on three sides by the shrubbery that grew in the Commons.
“You think your life has been a great journey, but I’m here to show you how wrong you are,” she said in a voice that somehow hypnotized me. I couldn’t move, nor think of anything but what she said. Entranced, I sat there staring at her two shinning gold teeth.
“Wrong?” I said.
“You’ve experienced a terrible passage here on this terrible world called Earth. A worse experience I can’t imagine. A better life here can be had if you make use of my magic mirror. It’s not usually needed, but to change the direction of this life, you must make use of one.”
My brain began to function, and I wondered what the hell she was talking about. “Who are you, and what is this ‘magic mirror’ you’re talking about?”
“Follow me,” she said.
Just like a puppy dog, I did. I knew if I had a tail, it would be wagging because I felt so happy to trail along behind her. What kind of hold did this woman have over me?
She walked into Murray’s, the largest antique store in Boston and went directly to the third floor, filled with every type of mirror imaginable to me. She stopped in front of one that was six feet in length with a gilded frame and a stand to keep it erect wherever it was placed. When I gazed at the reflective surface, I found myself looking into space.
“This is the one you need. Buy it and pay to have it delivered today,” the gypsy said as she walked into the mirror.
What the heck? Was she a shill for the store? I mean did she just use some sort of illusionist magic trick to make me think she went into the mirror? Regardless of what I thought, I was compelled to purchase the mirror. When it was delivered later that day, I had it carried up to my bedroom and set up at the foot of my bed.
I lay in bed that night and peered into that so-called ‘magic mirror,’ wondering if the gold-toothed woman I had met actually went into it. Impossible. I knew better than to believe in magic, that is, until I saw her in the distance, slowly walking towards me. The closer she came, the bigger she became.
I went close to the mirror to watch her approach. Where my image should have been reflecting back at me, she soon stood full-size, opposite me. Light glinted off her shiny teeth when she smiled. Without a word, her hand came from the mirror, took me by the arm, and yanked so hard that I fell head first toward the mirror. I braced for the crash I was sure to experience, but when my face and head made contact with the mirror, I floated on the surface for a few minutes and felt myself dissipate into the vast space I saw inside the mirror. I sank into it like a marshmallow sinking into a cup of hot chocolate.
“The life you’ve been living is a life endured, and I’m not thrilled with the way you’ve lived. I’m thankful now for this chance to show you what you can have if you only imagine it,” the gypsy said to me.
I imagined a new car, and one appeared, but it was black, not my favorite color. “I want red,” I said, and it instantly changed to a candy apple red. “Make it a convertible,” I said, and the top rolled down. Wow, this is great. I imagined a woman, and one appeared. “Bigger breasts,” I said, and her chest expanded until I said, “stop.”
She didn’t look right until I said, “Smaller waist.” Her waist shrank until she looked like Pamela Anderson, so I was satisfied. “A million $100 bills,” I said, and stacks of bills appeared around my feet. Life would get better now, I thought. I put the girl, the money, and myself in the car. I wanted to drive out of the mirror, but I wasn’t sure how to accomplish that. I revved the engine, put the gas to the floor, took my foot off the brake, and sped toward the glass.
I heard the smash as we broke through and we crashed through my bedroom wall. I didn’t think ahead, and because my bedroom was on the second floor, the car went down the stairs and crashed on the living room floor. The girl in the car died from a broken neck. The car and money caught on fire. I panicked and ran upstairs with the intent of saving the mirror so I could imagine another girl and car, but it wasn’t there. The gypsy was though, and through her glittering teeth she said in a sneering voice, “I fulfilled your dreams and you abandoned me.”
“Please, give me one more chance?” I pled, as flames licked at my pant legs.
“Maybe I will, if you can love me for who I am.” I watched her jowls grow and sag on her face. They made her look like a pig.
“Okay,” I screamed. I knew if I could imagine her to be beautiful, I could love her, but I didn’t know I had already used up all the imagining I was allowed, and I’d be stuck with her looking like a pig for eternity.