The Turkish Mirror
“And now you know what became of your father, ma petite,” says my Maman. Maman is parked in her sumptuous armchair by the window, the gray light of Paris buffing color off her blonde hair. She closes thin lips and sucks in a stiff inhale, exquisite in her hoity-toity suffering. I stand over her, a towering six feet, too much of a biffa to ever come across so frail. Her porcelain skin, same white as mine, looks cold. I am so disappointed. Of all the things I dreamed my real mum might be, I never imagined such a ghostly aristocrat.
I’m not in a warm-hearted mood, having just stolen, lied, and done a runner from London with the police on my arse and this effing mirror in my rucksack. No mood to be sweet to this snooty nonstarter of a mum, even if it is the first time I’ve ever laid eyes on her. I yank out the mirror by its handle. It’s swathed in a snippet of silk the color of dead goldfish. Much as I fear that mirror, I love that red orange silk—royal orange in the sunlight, an eerie stain of red in the dark.
“Right then,” I say, “Dad died. But that doesn’t explain this bit of trouble, does it?” I chuck the mirror in her lap. She jerks away her hands, avoiding what just landed in the folds of her wool dress. The silk slides apart. Painted waves wash up the mirror’s handle and reach for the monster sculpted in mosaic tile on the back. “I want a full account, Maman. You owe me.”