I took a few deep breaths as I processed this. To not exist and exist at the same time – wasn’t there a scientific explanation for it? Yes, there was – I recalled something to do with an animal. A bird? An insect? A mouse? A cat?
A cat. That sounded right. Schrodinger’s Cat. The famous thought experiment used to show just how ridiculous the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics was. Particles existing in all states until it is observed. A cat was placed in a box with a radioactive sample, a Geiger counter and a bottle of poison. If the Geiger counter detected that the radioactive sample had decayed, the bottle of poison would be smashed and the cat would be killed. Since, according to the Copenhagen interpretation, the sample would simultaneously exist both in a decayed and un-decayed state independent of our observation of it, then it stood to reason that the cat would simultaneously be alive and dead. Which naturally made no sense.
Unless you found yourself in your mirror, looking out into the emptiness that was your bathroom.
I must be in a different world. That water that came out of the tap did look like it had a galaxy floating around in it. Come to think of it, I didn’t know why I drank the water. It was as if the water had just pulled me to it. Into it, into me. I was in the water, wasn’t I? Or was the water just a wormhole that took into this world?
I shook my head and it felt like I was either moving under water, or contending with a gravitational pull far greater than what I was used to. There was a resistance in the mirror that didn’t exist in the world I came from.
I could see my mirror-self in the world I came from. He never seemed to have trouble moving along with me. But I couldn’t see my other self from this mirror world.
I wondered what my other self was seeing. Did I even exist in that world now? If my consciousness was pulled into this world, then my body in that world would be just an empty shell, wouldn’t it? I found a devious grin snaking onto my face as I thought of Ashara finding me standing immobile before the mirror.
We’d met in the lift at the office one day. I didn’t know she was our client. The first thing she said when she saw me was that my tie was crooked. And then she ignored me.
I straightened my tie almost compulsively every day after that.
We met the second time at her office. As our meeting progressed, she announced to my bosses that she doubted my ability to work on their campaign. And then she said she’d give me another chance.
As I left, she told me that my tie was too straight. I quietly pulled it off-center.
There was a subtle shift in the bathroom in front of me. I couldn’t put a finger on it. Something, like a flicker, and it looked the same again. I couldn’t wait here in the mirror forever, could I? I reached my hands out and touched to cool glass again. There had to be a way through.
I pressed my hands hard against the glass. It didn’t yield. But it seemed to stick, like lizard’s feet. Slowly, I stuck my hands on the glass above my head and tried pulling myself up. The muscles in my arms strained against the weigh pressing down on me, but I managed it. I unstuck one hand and placed it slightly above the other, intending to climb like a lizard.
I seemed to get heavier with every pull, though. Peering down at my non-existent feet, I realised that a part of my hip was becoming visible – the part that was now in front of the mirror. Did that mean that my hands would disappear once they passed the top of the mirror? I had about five more hands to go before I reached the top.
For the first time that day, I felt a twinge of uncertainty. What if I never got out?