Behind the Mirror - by Yoon Ha Lee

Her sister did not live behind the mirror.

There were a lot of places where her sister lived.

Sometimes, after Renais returned from the bathroom, there were fingerprints smaller than hers on the glass of iced tea, with its ice cubes melted into small crescents. Renais covered the fingerprints with her own, hand meeting vanished hand.

Renais had brown hair. Sometimes she found silvery strands knotted neatly through the teeth of her comb, always so she could remove the strands easily. This she did, collecting them in a box never quite full. The strands grew brittle over time. Renais broke them to make room for the new ones.

After Renais reached the topmost step on the way to her bedroom, she heard a cadence that was not an echo. Sometimes Renais paused partway up or down, listening for any rhythm that was not her own. She never heard one.

At night, Renais sang her sister's favorite song. It had to do with waves and tide pools and dragons guarding pearls. it had a two-line refrain about the moon awash in a river of stars. Renais couldn't remember how the harmony went.

There were a lot of places where her sister lived, but only one where she was dead.

Every morning, Renais smiled into the mirror's helpless eye, and walked out of the night.


for Rachel M.

- END -

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