“ So, how is it going ?” He asked me as I was shaving , getting ready to go to work.
I said the going is just great, and getting better by the day.
“You mean better for you , or for whatever it is that you do in a typical work-day ?”
“Gimme a break !” I said. “ Is it not the one and the same ?
“Of course not ! Two sides of a coin , perhaps, but definitely not the same . Can you tell me why does it feel its getting better by the day ? Can you put a finger on it ?
I inclined my head just so that my razor could reach a cranny, as well as to make it look as if I am giving some serious consideration to his question.
Then I said “To tell you the truth, I really believe I am getting a lot tougher than I ever was. And a lot smarter too !”
“Well, well ! That’s great to hear ! May I , in that case, know why do I see that uncertain, even a hunted look in your eyes ?
“ That’s simple ! Its your imagination . Tell you what, you should take up writing some serious fiction. Good money there, you see !” I retorted.
“Oh thanks for the suggestion , and do accept an apology in case I misread your eyes, mate ! By the way , you just lathered your left cheek for the third time. Some particularly obstinate fungi bothering that part of your face ?
“What are you, my mom ? Put a sock in it , now will you ? Got a train to catch, and you are just holding me up with your inane observations .
“Humor me , for just a couple of minutes more, will you please ? In any case that’s how long its going to take for you to wash your face, wipe it dry , and splash some aftershave , right ?
“Okay , okay ! Have it your way . As usual, I might add !
“Gee thanks ! Magnanimity quite becomes you, if nothing else !
“Cut out the barbs and get to the point, will you ? Or you lose me right now right here . ok ?
“ Sure ! Lets rewind to the part where you were getting a lot tougher and a lot smarter too .
“ What of it ? I am , am I not ?
“ If you well and truly are, then why seek a confirmation with that ‘ am I not’ ?
“ Figure of speech . Lets move on .
“ Right . I had mentioned two sides of a coin when we started off, remember ? One of those sides that I see is positively good, but only apparently . I see less tension overall on your face. The smile is genuine more often than not . The jitters are down considerably too . Do I read this right ? Are we on the same page on this ?
“ But of course we are ! I told you right off the bat , didn’t I , that things are getting better ?
“That’s where the other side of the coin comes into the equation, mate ! And one side never ever completed a coin.
“ Enough with the preamble . Give me the flipside .
“ In a minute. I know there is a 8.30 after your usual 8.18 that reaches you to the office well before the punch-in .
“ Okay smartass, but this had better be good !
“ Sure it is. It just depends on how you take it. Here it is. You say you are getting tougher and smarter than ever before , but did you stop a second to ask yourself if you are getting better as a human being in the process ?
“ What the hell for ? Getting tougher and smarter is good for you , right ?
“ Sure it is. Only if you haven’t made the classic error of judging a book by its cover. Things are never quite the same inside as they look on the surface.
“ Your take on that 8.30 was spot on. Spill them beans now. What difference is there between what I see and what you think you see ?
“ There is always a subtle distinction between what meets the eye and what actually is , no matter how uncanny the resemblance is .
“ Go on…. I am all ears !
“ Did it occur to you, that what your mind perceives as toughness , might just be something within a hairs breadth of being thick-skinned, or even uncaring ?”
“Ouch !!! “ I gave myself a nick on the chin with my razor . “ And what does getting smarter sound to you like , along the same lines ?
“ Try ‘ Cunning ‘ , or ‘scheming’ for size . I can see you don’t like either. Does ‘manipulative’ sound better ?”
“Say what you will” I said . “All I know is that skinning a hair was never a part of my skillset, and I can see that it appears to be your favorite pastime . Although there is some substance in your theories, I am not going to worry myself sick over your cockeyed concern. I sleep like a baby every night and wake up like one every morning. Fresh, uncomplicated and ready to deal with the new day. Save your worries for another day. I am off to work, bye !!!”
I turned on my heel and headed for the wardrobe. And his words came following me like faithful pets.
“ Sleeping like a baby , and waking up like one . Well , that too has a flipside ! What about the possibility of your utterly exhausted body holding your mind captive every night and not allowing it to think ? What about it, huh ? What ?”
I turned around , gave him one last look, and said “ Screw you, mirror !!! Get a life, or get a shrink !!!