freewrite, a few months ago

I don’t recognize myself these days. The inattentive gaze in the mirror belongs to a doppelganger, more slender and short-tempered than I. She pinches her pennies and frets ever so much about her inability to accomplish anything personal or professional. She often cannot recall the last time she showered or where she set down her most recent cup of tea. Someone keeps sliding free the pins in her train of thought, sending half-formed plans and contemplations down separate tracks and into the wilderness.
She lives in a looking-glass world. The same town as me; the same home, even. But a changeling child, a faerie, an elf lives with her, scampering through the rooms of her house, his voice full of conviction as he chants nonsense against invisible demons. Even in the reflection I can make out the whats and whens and wheres of his life, but the whys elude me. I understand that he pulls the books from her shelves – all children do – but why, over and over, her three copies of the The Little Prince (one English, once French, one Latin), her husband’s two copies of Beowulf (Seamus Heaney’s and one in old English), and the massive tome of The Faerie Queen?
The strangers in my mirror. Sometimes she holds him to the glass and they two stare at me, her eyes blue blue and his dappled gray-green pools. He spins in circles and she stares into space. How strange…

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