It is getting dark. The young woman walks into a bar. She orders a drink.
The man serving her looks up. She is the prettiest girl he’s ever seen. Some
drinks later, they leave together. ln a side alley, they kiss. It is her ﬁrst kiss. It
The old woman leant her head against the cold glass of the mirror, staring
at her reﬂection. Her tears ran down the shiny surface and her mirror image
cried as well. She sat there for a minute, wallowing in her own memories, then
got up, dusted herself off and walked to the door. She stopped only to kiss the
yellowing picture of her husband, proud and erect in his sailor’s uniform, a happy
smile on his face. “You were so proud!” she whispered, “So handsome, so caring,
so kind, I miss you so much!”
She opened the door and walked unsteadily through the deserted corridors
of the asylum. The automatic doors slid open and she tottered out. The
brightness surprised her. For twenty years, she had lived in a darkened room. The
smell of disinfectant hung in the air like sickness, remorse, fear. Every day, she
would be led to the dining room with all the other inhabitants, along brown
corridors with polished ﬂoor tiles. She could still hear the squeaking of the
nurses’ sensible crocs moving along the ﬂoor. But now, now she was free!
“Nevermore!” she cried to the heavens, her voice cracking.
The woman lies in a hospital bed. She cries tears of happiness as she
cradles a baby in her arms. Perfect, in every way. Her proud husband watches,
“What shall we name her?” .
She half walked, half ran down to the lake edge. A girl was playing there.
She looked into the girl’s laughing eyes and felt a jolt of recognition. That auburn
hair, those emerald eyes, that pale skin It had to be Charlotte. The girl stood
up, dusted herself off and ran into her house.
The woman picks up the phone. The voice sounds tinny. “l’m so sorry, the
HMS Galactica has sunk.”
“And my husband?” The woman’s voice is urgent. Charlotte is doing her
homework, trying to pretend she hasn’t heard. The tinny voice resounds around
“No survivors.” Charlotte drops her pen.
The woman pushed the boat out into the water. She rowed to the middle
of the lake, trying to shake off her remorse. The last time she had seen her
husband, she had shouted at him. She stopped rowing and looked into the water.
Her reﬂection looked up at her and so did another one – her husband. She turned
and looked into nothingness.
He wasn’t there.
Her tears made ripples and blurred the reﬂections. She barely felt herself slip into the inky blackness of the lake. By the time the ripples had cleared, the only thing reﬂecting clearly in the water left on the lake was a slowly drifting boat.