The Bathroom Sink

I didn’t clean the bathroom sink for a long time and it was filthy.  Every time I looked at it, I felt disgusted with myself.  I looked at the sink and then at my face in the mirror.  The face I saw wasn’t mine.  It was someone else’s.  I said to that face, “You are a fat, ugly, lazy slob,” and I hated that face, that person in there, that me that wasn’t me.

Then, I got on an airplane to London.  I walked around on the London streets, where many elegant people were hurrying to their jobs.  I was shabbily dressed, with my folded-up Google Maps directions to guide me.  The people walked swiftly past me, and I thought about how smart they looked, in their business suits.  I have never owned such formal clothes, or worked a fancy nine to five job.  But the London people probably had bathroom sinks, too, and ghosts of their own they saw in their mirrors.

I went back to my little room at the hotel.  The little room had not one but two mirrors.  I looked in neither of them.  Who, after all, can trust a mirror in a country where the people talk funny and drive on the wrong side of the road?  But the whole room was clean–the bathroom, the towels, and the bed.  I slept.

I got on an airplane and came home to find the same mess that I’d left behind: dishes in the kitchen, papers everywhere, and three weeks’ worth of laundry to do.  I went to take a shower and saw my demon, the bathroom sink, that looked as filthy as it ever had been, ever.

I didn’t have to look in the mirror.  I knew that the person I’d see in there still wasn’t me.  But it didn’t matter anymore whether I hated her or not because the bathroom mirror was steamed up from the shower.  I knew then what I had to do.  I found some Ajax and a couple of paper towels.  I thought it would take hours, but it took only a minute or two.  I cleaned the bathroom sink.

Feedback and comments welcome!