Man in the Mirror


Light-catchers at the Mall

Used to be, if I stood in front of a bathroom mirror, it was to see the part of my face I was lathering and shaving. Lately, I’ve noticed I’m checking myself out two or three times a day. Sometimes, I’ll catch my reflection in a storefront window. Today, I’m at the Mall of the Americas — that’s Plaza las Americas — and I’ve been looking into every mirror I pass. This is really odd for me.

I’ve got to figure out what is making me this self-conscious. I’ve got two theories. First, Maria is lovely, so when we are together I’m being judged in some way. Maybe that’s been making me feel more insecure? Or, I’m just a curiosity here on the island. Maybe I look young for twenty-five, and kind of preppy?  What can I do?  I’m six-feet, with sandy brown hair, I own no socks, I haven’t been eating much and my khakis are loose.  I suppose I’m looking in mirrors because I want to reassure myself — I’m still me –- and I’m okay. Maybe I haven’t had a good shower recently.  My leg’s in a cast.

My sister Rose had some good advice when I called her this morning: Buy some clothes and get a haircut. “You don’t have to look like you’re trying out for Pirates of the Caribbean.”

I found the first mirror I could, and I took a look.  Rose was right, as always.  I could be typecast as a marooned British officer with a peg leg, limping around the island in tattered skivvies collecting brush.  (Make movie-goers wonder: Is he going to make a fire or is he building some kind of nest?)

Plaza las Americas

Plaza las Americas

Anyway, I had Maria drop me off at the Mall for the day. She’s got her brother Silvio’s car and has to drive to a library in Ponce. I’m sure she will see Professor Ramos while she’s there. She’s reassured me that their relationship is only professional, but I’ve seen them together. I’m not so sure Doc Ramos thinks their relationship is only professional.  So, I’m here at the Mall by myself — on crutches, not knowing Spanish — but ready to shop.  I think I’ll start with my feet and get some new socks. Penny’s or Brooks Brothers? I know Rose would say, Brooks Brothers. So up and down the escalator I go.

–Will Gray


swirly lineNovel Idea: I think that Will may be feeling what so many women have often felt: They are being judged for how they look. It’s probably good for Will to experience this for himself. He’ll have more sympathy later on when Maria shares her experiences of coming to the States for school and being treated disrespectfully because she was Puerto Rican. She felt stereotyped as a Latino woman. She got attention for her looks, but her intelligence? Maria may wonder, even now, whether Will respects her fully. Prejudice for or against persons takes many guises. It always starts with a false assumption about a person, based on his or her appearance.

-Jeanne Hammond

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One Comment on “Man in the Mirror

  1. Pingback: One woman = strength of ten men | rfljenksy – Practicing Simplicity

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