the perfectly normal and mediocre, writing exercise

The downpour surprised me just ten minutes away from home. It came down in sheets and I was soaked to the bones in less than two minutes. That was that with the relaxed grocery shopping. Thank God I didn’t buy fresh bread or croissants. Soggy backed goods were bad juju, I hated that. Nothing could spoil green onions, zucchinis, two pound of tomatoes, and black cherries. The cardboard package for the eggs could be a problem though. It could have been worse. Luckily, this wasn’t a hail storm.

I didn’t try to find a place to protect myself, cause those ten minutes seemed less inconvenient than what the dark blue layer of clouds predicted. It would keep on pissing for a long time. As far as I could see, there were no patches of blue sky. That meant at least half an hour of heavy rain storm.

I had put my glasses into one of the grocery bags and started home with a power walk. Wet clothes stuck to my skin, hair to my scalp, and neck. My shoes squeaked with the rain and puddles finding their way to my toes. Yuck! It had been a hot summer day, but this was still the most uncomfortable walk for a long time. I cheered myself on with fantasies about hot soup and a steaming hot shower.

As soon as I made it inside, I felt the shivers running up and down my back, thighs, and belly. Of course, the downpour decided to lighten up to a drizzle, as soon as I closed the door behind me. In the hallway, the shadow in the mirror looked at me quizzically. “I’m home.” Nobody answered, which was not surprising since I lived alone. The shadow stared and came closer to the surface. “That’s a six out of ten.” I told him. He tried to be creepy, bless his nonexistent heart. He tried his best and I was just providing friendly feedback. I kicked my shoes off and went into the kitchen. It was time for something hot to drink. My feet slapped the cold floor tiles and I almost slipped on my own wet footprints.

Towel. I needed a towel. In the bathroom, the blue fluffy towels waited for me, all crumpled up on the floor. The head of the shadow bobbed up in the bathroom mirror, from beneath the most lower part. “It’s alright!” I said, toweling my wet hair. “You don’t happen to know who throws down my towels?” He shook his shadowhead and pointed at me – the me outside the mirror, not my reflection. I sighed and went to undress in the living room, leaving the wet clothes in a pile. A sneeze surprised me before I had the chance to cover my mouth. It was the mother of sneezes, echoing throughout the apartment. Even my neighbors must have heard that supersonic boom of a sneeze. “Sorry, scared myself too,” I mumbled and went back to the bathroom. “Sorry buddy,” I turned on the faucet, to let the hot water fog up the mirror. The shadow nodded and went towards the door. He left the room, probably to sit in another reflecting surface.

The bathtub steamed as I lowered myself into the hot green water. It had been the fistful of fir bath salts that changed the color of the water, and the vapor to a misty morning in the forest.

The shadow had turned up some three months ago, curiously peering into this side of the world, mostly during nights. After I noticed him, and he waved at me awkwardly, he proceeded to appear during the day too. I let him be, cause he watched over me and my ground floor apartment. A week ago, he scared away an intruder. The man tried to unlock the back door, then ran away screaming.

I had been napping on the living room couch after a hearty meal and just woke to slamming and hammering at the door. In retrospect, it had been the shadow throwing himself at the back door repeatedly that made the noise. I stood up and went to see what the fuss was about. The man stared at me through the window of the back door, eyes huge, face white, mouth open. He pointed at me, shaking like leaf and backed away slowly. The door started rattling like crazy, and the intruder put up both of his hands, letting the big crowbar fall onto the grass. He seemingly found his voice, and his feet, and screamed as if being skinned alive. That looked and sounded so funny, I couldn’t help myself but doubled over laughing.

Of course, I was no idiot and hung up garlands of hawthorn berries and elderberry flowers around all mirrors. Then, I washed all reflecting surfaces with a special vinegar. Being a polite and knowable host, I put up half a roast-beef sandwich on the hallway dresser, so that it would be reflected in the hallway mirror. I even put an open beer can up there. For good relations. I watched the sandwich gradually disappear over the next three days. On this side of the mirror, it was perfectly fine, but I didn’t dare to touch it. When it became dry and discolored, I threw it out in the trash.

 


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