Evelyn slept late the following day. She felt like she’d been in some kind of marathon. Her body and head ached. When she saw the urn next to the mirror, all the images of yesterday came flooding back.

Evelyn had to get dressed and leave shortly, otherwise she would miss her appointment. She was reluctant to leave the urn, but it would be impossible to carry it around with her. She blew a kiss to it and left.

Evelyn did call her aunt after a week and they had a chat. Her aunt wanted her to visit again, but Evelyn said it was too soon. She promised to be in touch.

There were no images from the mirror for the next two weeks.

Evelyn wondered if that was it. The mirror had brought her mom back, so to speak, and reunited her with her aunt. Maybe there was no more stories to tell?

Evelyn kept herself busy with helping out at the soup kitchen and walking the seawall. She saved some money for a tin of varnish and a brush and set about applying it to the mirror’s surround. She had to open her window because of the smell and realized the windows were filthy, inside and out. There were free cleaning supplies provided for the rooms, so Evelyn used them to clean her place. She took her sheets and blanket to the laundromat and washed them for the first time in a long time. She had leftover varnish, so she did the top of her dresser and the shelf she made.

Evelyn looked at her room with pride. She began to feel something she hadn’t felt ever in her lifetime: hope!

Evelyn would often talk to the urn and speak about her day; what she saw on her walks; what happened at the soup kitchen. She never opened the top of the urn to get the money from it. That money was going to be for something special, but she hadn’t decided what yet.

After the third week, the mirror came back to life.

Evelyn woke to hear some voices coming from the mirror. She got up and held it on her lap. She smiled when she saw Evie again. It was like seeing an old friend.

Evie was older again from the last time and she had on a pretty flowered sundress and slinky sandals. Her hair was longer and curled at the bottom. She was holding a man’s hand as they were walking along what looked like the seawall; her seawall. Evelyn recognized the beach they passed; the hot dog stand and the funny-faced statues.

Their conversation was muffled but when they sat on a bench looking out toward the ocean, it became clearer.

“What a beautiful evening.” Evie sighed.

“You’re beautiful,” the man said, kissing her cheek.

“Why thank you, kind sir,” Evie joked.

“Why do you do that?”


“You never like to take a compliment.”

“Yes, I do. I said thank you.”

“Yeah, but, ‘thank you kind sir,’” he spoke mockingly.

Evie didn’t say anything.

The man squeezed her hand. “You never talk about your family.”

Evie let go of the man’s hand and got up. “Way to ruin a great night.”

She walked as quickly as she could on her high heels. Her partner ran up behind her. “Look, I’m sorry. I just think you should sometimes talk about them. Ya know, get it out.”

“Brad, just stop it, please, I can’t go there, alright?”

Brad turned Evie to face him. He held her face in his hands.

“I’m sorry. I love you. Okay?”

Evie didn’t speak but nodded. They kissed.

The images changed to both Evie and Brad hiking along a trail. They wore shorts and T-shirts. Evie wore a floppy sun hat. Brad was carrying a picnic basket. They hiked up to the top of a ridge where they laid out the picnic.

Brad had a beer, but it looked like Evie only drank water.

“Look at this view, Brad. It’s gorgeous. Where did you find this spot?”

“I used to hike this trail a lot. With work and seducing you, I haven’t had time.” Brad smiled as he leaned in to Evie and kissed her loudly on the mouth.

Evie laughed and pushed him away. “You’re crazy.”

“Yes, crazy about you!”

Evie shook her head and, still smiling, started dishing out food onto paper plates. Nothing more was said as they ate their food.

After Brad finished, he wiped his mouth on a napkin and got up.

“I’m going to take a leak.” He went behind a large rock.

Evie busied herself with putting the plates and plastic cutlery in a garbage bag.

Brad came back and stood before her.

“That was quick,” Evie said. “Sit down for a minute. I haven’t finished cleaning up.”

Brad still stood. Evie looked up at him. “What’s going on?”

He hunkered down and took a deep breath.

“Evie, you know how much I love you. Well, I think it’s time—well I hope you feel the same way—but, well, will you marry me?”

Brad produced a ring from his shirt pocket.

Evie gasped. She got up but managed to accidentally topple Brad over. The ring went flying behind him.

“Oh no.” Evie covered her mouth.

“Shit.” Brad got up and frantically searched for the ring in the grass.

Evie knelt beside him, searching as well.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck. Where is it?”

After about ten minutes, they stopped.

“Oh, Brad, I’m so sorry.”

“That was not how I wanted my proposal to turn out.”

Evie renewed the search. “It has to be here somewhere.”

Brad grabbed her hands. “You didn’t give me an answer?”

“Yes, of course I will. Now let’s find my ring.”

Brad pulled her close and kissed her passionately.

Evie eventually pushed him off and went back to looking.

“Found it.” She held it up. With shaking hands, Brad put it on Evie’s finger. “If it doesn’t fit or you don’t like it, we can exchange it or size it, or…” Amazingly, the ring fit perfectly. Evie squealed with delight and hugged Brad. They rolled around the grass before attempting to take off each other’s clothes. The scene faded.

Evelyn smiled. She felt happy for Evie and Brad; not jealous like before.

Evelyn couldn’t remember the last time she felt anything for someone else. She didn’t lose her virginity until she started living on the streets.

In fact, she was high when it happened. That’s probably why it happened. Evelyn was never that interested in the opposite sex, or any sex for that matter. When she was in high school, she never attracted anyone that was interested in her physically. She never attempted to seduce anyone either.

Evelyn was lucky she never got pregnant. After that one time, she went to a family planning clinic and was put on birth control pills. There was no way she was going to have a baby. The poor kid wouldn’t have a chance. There were a few times she had blacked out after using and found herself with some guy. She caught chlamydia once from her sexual activities and was put on antibiotics. Evelyn made every effort after that to avoid sex, and frankly, she didn’t miss it. She even took herself off the birth control pills once she was clean.

Evelyn went back to bed thinking about Evie and Brad.

Evelyn got in touch with her aunt again, later that week. She didn’t want to lose touch. She asked if she could meet both her and Uncle Ray at the concession stand along the seawall. The arrangements were made and they agreed to meet up the following Saturday.

Luckily, the weather was warmer and it looked like spring was just around the corner. There were crocuses peeking out from the grass and the trees were filling out with green foliage.

Evelyn took care with her appearance again, and wore the face powder, blush, and gloss she still had. She wore a pink T-shirt and a black sweater over top (she didn’t like to show her bare arms with the scars of the track marks).

She only had one pair of jeans but she found a pair of lightweight beige jogging pants in a thrift store. She also wore a black cap that was in the lost and found at the soup kitchen. Marjorie, who volunteered there and was taking Evelyn under her wing, said she could have it.

Evelyn spotted Bev and walked over to the bench they were both sitting on. Her Uncle Ray looked a lot older than she remembered. He had quite the pot belly, a round bald patch on the top of his head, and a double chin. Evelyn waved at them from a distance. Bev immediately got up and gave her a hug. Uncle Ray stayed seated and merely nodded.

Bev looked nervous. “Shall we go for a walk; get a coffee?”

Evelyn shrugged. “Whatever you’d like.”

Ray got up and started toward the concession stand.

Bev put her arm through Evelyn’s and whispered, “Give him time.”

Evelyn didn’t say anything but wondered if it was such a good idea.

Ray bought all of them a coffee and they started walking along the seawall.

Evelyn could feel her anxiety rising and started walking faster.

“Hey, it’s not a race,” Ray said, struggling to keep up.

Evelyn took a deep breath and slowed down; she felt a panic attack coming on.

“Look I have to sit down a minute, please,” she said to Bev.

She ran towards a grass area and laid on the grass closing her eyes.

Both Ray and Bev approached her. “See, I told you, she’d still be using.”

Ray stood above her a distasteful look on his face.

Evelyn sat up on her elbows. “I’m not using, it’s a panic attack. I get them sometimes.” She didn’t like how her uncle was treating her.

Bev knelt beside her. “You okay honey? Here, drink your coffee. Take deep breaths.” Bev handed her the coffee. Evelyn took a sip. She sat up fully.

“You know, Evelyn, your mom used to get panic attacks, too.”

“She did?” Evelyn was shocked.

“Yes, she was on medication; you know, anti-anxiety meds, anti-depressants.”

“I didn’t know that.”

“Your mom didn’t talk about a lot of things. She had too many other things to cope with.”

Ray snorted. “I’m going back to the car.” He started walking back the other way.

“Ray, don’t be an ass,” Bev shouted to him, but he ignored her.

Bev plunked herself down on the grass. “Ooh my knees; I can’t stay in that position. It hurts.”

She leaned into Evelyn. “I’m sorry about your uncle. He’s old school. He doesn’t think anyone can change. He was really upset when you left. He blamed your dad. And rightly so. He even confronted him once and they had a fistfight. It just made it worse for your mom. Ray feels like he should’ve been able to do something about your dad, but he couldn’t. Please give him time.”

Evelyn nodded, too upset to speak.

“I better go now. I’m sorry it didn’t work out, but please, please see me again.” Her aunt looked pleadingly at Evelyn.

Evelyn started crying and hugged her aunt. “I don’t want to lose you again.”

“You won’t honey, I promise. How about we meet up next Saturday, just me. We’ll have lunch at the old Sylvia Hotel.”

Evelyn nodded and said, ‘yes’. In a weak voice.

“Good, now help me up.”

Evelyn got to her feet and helped her aunt get up.

Even though the meeting with her uncle was not how she had hoped, Evelyn was glad she still had a relationship with her aunt.

Lunch at the Sylvia sounded amazing.

Evelyn had lunch with her aunt as promised. It was an amazing hotel, constructed in the twenties with its iconic ivy growing over front of the building. It had old and new décor which fit just right.

There were huge bay windows looking over the water. Bev and Evelyn sat by the window. Evelyn had goosebumps looking at her surroundings.

“What a great place,” Evelyn enthused.

“Yes, I love it here. When your mom and I were teenagers—I mean young women—we used to come here for cocktail hour. “

“Wow, that must’ve been fun.”

“Yes, your mom was a lot of fun, before she met your dad.”

Evelyn’s face fell.

“I’m sorry, honey, that didn’t come out right. Your mom was different then; anyway, let’s order.”

Evelyn opened the menu. Besides the soup kitchen, Evelyn never ate out. She couldn’t believe all the food available for lunch.

“What would you like?”

“I’m not sure; there’s so much to choose from. Can you choose for me?”

“Well, okay. Do you like sandwiches; salads? They even do a brunch with eggs benedict.”

“I, I don’t know, please, you choose.” Evelyn was getting flustered.

“Ok, let’s see…ah, there is a shrimp sandwich on sourdough which is on special. We can get that with fries.”

“Sounds good.” Evelyn wasn’t sure she liked shrimp, but it seemed like a good choice.

The waitress came over to take their order. She was hunched over a bit and looked old. There were a lot of lines on her face.

“What you’ll have, ladies?” Her voice was gravelly like she smoked a lot.

Bev gave the order.

“Any drinks?” she rasped.

“I’ll have a glass of the house white.”

The waitress looked at Evelyn. “Just water, please.”

Bev reddened. “Sorry, no wine. I’ll have a coffee instead.”

“Okie dokie.” The waitress winked at Evelyn. She wondered if she knew her; she could’ve easily lived on the streets at one time; she had that look about her.

“I’m so stupid, sorry dear, I totally forgot myself…”

“No, it’s fine. You could’ve had wine.”

Bev didn’t say anything. The two sat in an awkward silence for a bit.

Finally, Bev spoke, “your uncle was contrite about his behavior. Especially as I reamed him out over it.” Bev laughed.

“He’s not quite ready to see you, but he will. Just give him time.”

Evelyn nodded but didn’t say anything.

The lunch was awkward for Evelyn, not sure what to say; the shrimp filling coming out of the sandwich as she bit into it; not sure if she should pick up the fries with her hands or with a fork.

The food was delicious, though. Evelyn couldn’t eat all of it so the waitress bagged it for her to take home.

Bev suggested a walk after lunch and they both set out once again on the seawall.

“Thank you for lunch.” Evelyn smiled at her aunt.

“No worries, hon, it was my pleasure. We’ll do again sometime.”

Evelyn smiled again. They passed the hot dog stand and there was a delicious aroma of grilled sausages and stir-fried onions.

“Next time, I’ll treat,” Evelyn said impulsively.

Bev shook her head, “No, it’s fine, it would be too expensive for you…”

“Not the Sylvia, but a hot dog.” Evelyn pointed to the hot dog stand.

Bev looked over and laughed. “That would be great. They smell delicious.”

They walked companionably around some of the seawall; more comfortable outside than in the hotel.

When they walked back to Bev’s car, Bev pulled Evelyn in for a hug.

“I’m so, so glad we’re spending time together.” There were tears in her eyes as she let go. Bev gave her a peck on the cheek.

“Let’s meet up for that hot dog in a couple of weeks, okay?”

Evelyn nodded. Bev got into her car and rolled down the window. “Give me a call.”

Evelyn promised.

As she walked back to her room, Evelyn saw a homeless person begging nearby. She stopped and handed him the remains of her sandwich.

He thanked her. Evelyn smiled.


For all installments of “Mirror, Mirror…,” click here.

Previous installments:

  1. Part 1
  2. Part 2
  3. Part 3