(Originally published at https://www.journeymouse.net/ on 3rd September 2016)

Once, I knew a girl who didn't like mirrors.

She told me so, apologetically, when I brought her back to my room. I dragged the throw Mum had given me from under the single bed and covered the mirror that came with the room.

"It's okay," I said, trying to be reassuring. "Lots of people find their reflection disconcerting."

She frowned at me. "It's not that."

"Sure it is. There've been studies about it and everything," I said.

She said "Sorry. I shouldn't have mentioned it. We've only just met."

I smiled at her. "It's okay. You don't have to pretend with me. After all, would you rather trap a prize who resents you once they realise you're not what you pretended to be or do you want to be loved for the real you?"

It seemed like the right thing to say and she smiled back tentatively. However, she mentioned it again later when she needed to go to the bathroom.

"I'm going to need to turn the lights on," is what she actually said.

"Really?" I asked. "Why?"

She wasn't exactly the nicest piece of scenery and she was shy with it. Turning the light on so everyone could see her didn't exactly seem like her thing.

"The mirror in the bathroom," she said.

She turned the light on and we squinted at each other.

"But you said you didn't like seeing your own reflection."

She shook her head at me. "No. I worry when I can't."

This wasn't why I'd picked her up in the bar. Plain girls were supposed to be low maintenance.


"I know it's weird," she said, with an apologetic little smile. "I mean, I study physics. I know how reflection works."

"What are you on about?"

"I just..." She sighed. "I think my reflection doesn't do what it's supposed to in the dark."

I rolled over and closed my eyes. "Just turn the lights out when you're done."

I hoped she'd take the hint and leave the place altogether.

She was noisy going out into the hallway and a flatmate messaged me as soon as she turned the lights on. The light was disturbing him. I ignored the message.

Then I got a few more buzzes on the phone, so I got up. I fell over her shoes and noticed most of her clothes were still lying on the floor. She expected to come back.

I shrugged and turned the hall light and the bedroom lights off. I could see a glow under the right door that said the bathroom light was still on, but I ignored it and went back to bed. I didn't lock the door because I figured I might as well get something out of it if she was going to hang around.

I think I heard some hurried steps as I was falling asleep. Then there was a scream that woke me up and had everyone messaging to look after my date better.

But I never saw her again.

She didn't even came back for her shoes.