Meera and I by Vanshika Gudipalli

“Meera, Meera on the wall, what the heck is this about?”

I stop my pacing around the room to glare up at the mirror. Meera’s serene face smiles back at me, only enraging me more.

“What’s wrong Sam?” She asks, reaching for a comb and brushing it through her hair. I’m tempted to tell her not to bother, that she always looks picture-perfect, but I have other things to worry about.

“This!” I hissed, pointing to the pile of envelopes I had dumped in front of the mirror. Meera peers down from her side.

“SamSam”, she sighs, her tone of voice indicating that we’re in for a long chat. I tug self-consciously at my messy curls. It’s impossible to believe these long, tangled locks could look like the short, stylish lob I was rocking on the other side of the mirror.

It made my head spin still, this weird existence of both Meera and Me in the same space.

Some days I believed Meera was a figment of my imagination. A projected version of Sameera. A less helpless one.

Other days I was less optimistic. I thought maybe Meera was the facade I put up; a cool, calm, collected young woman with the perfect face and the perfect life. But on the inside I’d always remain Sameera; the young, scared, anxious mess of a child with bruises running up both her arms and voices in her head constantly making her miserable.

I shiver, even though I’m dressed in a hoodie. Meera reaches out for a tube of lipstick.

Somedays, very rarely, when I’m willing to think about Meera, it dawns on me that for a mirror image, she looks too different every day, whilst I remain the same. The room behind her changes, but mine always stays a plain, listless white with nothing but a chest of drawers behind me.

Most importantly, I hear laughter from beyond the ‘mirror’. On my side, just outside my door, are angry voices, forever screaming and shouting, ready to hurt me. There is no laughter here.

It scares me. That Meera might be a portal to a better life. An alternate reality where I’m not a child who sleeps on the cold, tiled floor. A world where I’m not just a punching bag.

The one time I gathered the courage to ask her, she told me she was the future me.

‘I’m Meera’, she said gently, ‘Not scared, hurt Sam or bold, broken Sameera. I’m what’s to come our way’

“These letters”, I mutter, tugging on my sleeves, a nervous habit of mine, “Why did you write

them?”

She leans forward, a placid smile still in place, “It’s fan mail. And I’m your biggest fan” I want to cry. To scream and shout.

“Me?”, I ask, shocked at the bitterness in my voice, “And what have I done?”

She puts her hand up to the mirror, like always, and I don’t lift a finger, like always.

“Being Sam… it’s tough. It sucks. You’ve been hurt. Over and over. But you never gave up”

“Every time something went wrong, every time you sported a new bruise, you only became stronger”

“You could have taken the easy way out. So, so many times”, I look up, and Meera’s loving face glances back down at me.

“I love you, so, so much. Without you, without your perseverance, we wouldn’t be here. We wouldn’t be able to have a good job, a stable life, the person of our dreams………………………………………………………………………………………………… “, Mira leans back,

looking satisfied, “Your struggles made me stronger. You make me better every day. I admire you more than you know”

I slide onto the floor fully, letting the silent tears of happiness slide down my face. I turn towards her and mouth a thank you.

She nods and the mirror goes back to reflecting my room.

I still find a letter the next day. And the next. And the next. And they never stop. And neither will I, because someday, I’ll be Meera, and I’m not giving up till then.

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