Short Story: Dissociation Posed Through the Eyes of a Narrative

     Like any ordinary evening, she looks in the mirror to view a face unrecognizable and strange. She picks up her toothbrush and sees hands that are not her own. The toothbrush buzzes, and she forces herself to look back in the mirror at that strange face as she performs this mundane everyday task. 

     A terrible feeling grips her chest when she sees two lifeless eyes staring back at her. It is as if someone is compressing her chest and holding her down. At a surface level, the eyes look empty. It’s like there’s no one home; the house was abandoned years ago. However, when you look deeper, you realize that someone still lives there. They are peering behind the curtains in an attempt to hide from the world but still observe.

     Only a few short moments have passed, yet it feels like eternities. She sets down the toothbrush and spits out the toothpaste. Her heart rate has been quickening, and standing in front of this cursed mirror is driving her mad. She rushes to finish her routine, hands shaking as she grows more and more restless. She couldn’t get out of that bathroom fast enough. 

     Finally, she was able to escape. She stepped out into her bedroom and took a deep breath. She felt the air fill her lungs, expecting it to clear away the terrible feeling that had been haunting her for so long. She was met with grief when the feeling only worsened and transformed into something different. 

     The room was spinning, and nothing looked familiar. Her vision was gray and dull, and she barely recognized the place where she spent most of her time. She put her hand to her heart and felt that it was nearly beating out of her chest. With each heartbeat, her anxiety grew, and all she wanted to do was escape this unfamiliar place. She wished to run far away, but cement encompassed her feet. The only place she could go way down, so down she went. She slowly fell to the hardwood floor, and the coldness of it touched every inch of her body.

     It was unclear how long she lay there waiting for things to return to normal. The sun had fully set, and the floor no longer felt as cold as it initially did. She opened her eyes once again and saw that the color had returned to the world. Slowly, she sat up and moved to the edge of her bed. Taking another deep breath, all she felt was the air entering and exiting her lungs. With every exhale, the terrible feeling she had felt slid out of her body. Relief. At long last, she felt relief.

     The relief faded as quickly as it came. A new emotion settled: emptiness. It felt as if the pain and suffering she had endured was no more than a bad dream. Usually, this would be a great thing, but why did it have to be so painful if it had the plan to leave with no trace all along? Once again, nothing felt real. It was a different type of ‘not real’ as before. The feeling sat further in the back of her mind, and she felt numb. 

     There was no real escape. Sure, she had a few seconds, maybe minutes, of relief, but that hadn’t lasted long. It was time to continue living, though. She had things to do, and she had already wasted so much time. No matter how numb and tired she felt, she had to move on.