I’ve let the weight of my future fall onto my peculiar snail mirror

Lynlee Derrick

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A picture of my snail mirror, a beloved 3 am purchase of mine, perched on a messy desk.

Dead AirPods, my close friend this senior year, sit beside me as I wonder where my brain will go—how I will express myself today in a manner that’s just different enough to be a new story but on the same tangent as I always feel I am: restless, stuck, idling for a new life.

My room is a mess, and I am aware of that. How can I forget that when in any corner of my room there are half-empty blue Powerade bottles and stuffing from my dogs’ toys that they tear apart? And I am always aware that I have no itch to fix my room, which isn’t tied to teenage angst for once. Or at least I hope so.

There is no need to clean my room, to charge my AirPods, to truly imbibe my calculus assignments when every part of myself is screaming that this room, this life, these feelings are finally temporal, a trait that I’ve prayed for despite being far from religious. Finally, I can touch the tail end of the train I hope to ride; I can see that there is a beyond, a question I have pondered for years, and that she is beautiful and molded for me.

Lazily propped up against a failed DIY desk project my parents never finished from years ago, the snail mirror that reflects a room with grey walls—a color I ironically now hate for its suffocating nature—also acts as a fickle flag of futures and probable failings. She, in all her 19-dollar fake wood composition, was the first thing I bought for my next living space. For my dorm, for an apartment, for a shoe-box sized closet in a New York City residence. It’s tiny—tiny enough to go anywhere with me—and I’m okay with that.

… Because, unlike my room, I can see the future in the small circular mirror she encapsulates.

The mirror doesn’t take up much space; she isn’t a grandiose snail nor the best quality glass. She has a trail of smudges from my fingers as I tilt her around to avoid seeing a reflection of the wasteland of blue Powerade my room has become.

Yet I feel inclined to fix her, to stain her when I decide what my dorm room will look like, to wipe off any smudges or smooth any cracks because, unlike my room, I can see the future in the small circular mirror she encapsulates.

My energy, my hopes, my fears—they can all be directed toward that mirror. A messy room means nothing to me; I see it as a goodbye, a collection of me shedding my years here in Grand Rapids and embracing the world around me. Instead, that mirror is infinitesimal in value and somewhat in size, but I put my all on its flimsy felt kick-stand as if I myself cannot stand on my own.

If that mirror cracks, meets its demise on my stained carpet floor, I don’t know—not anymore. She carries the weight of my future in the burden of my anxieties, and for now, I accept the fragility of her glass.

I know my future is just as fragile, teetering on the edge of the end, but almost close enough to hold.