But, the skate was only just beginning. For, it found the stairway waiting at the end of the hall. And, through the vane attempts of socks and buttons and various members of the genus inanimate with lack of muscle and appendage to halt the rolling menace’s inevitable fate, the skate tumbled down first the first step. Second, the second. Third, the third. And so forth. And so fifth, with each step more speed, more reckless purpose. And with the final, came a tumbling that hurled the skate high into the air into a half-filled book shelf, lacking in book ends.
The skate collided with the first book and resulted in an alphabetical chain reaction of literature-Aesop into Alcott into Ambrus into Babits into Bronte into Carroll into Catherinto Conrad into Dickens into Dostoyevsky into Dreiser into Eliot (first George, then T.S.) into Forster. Then-Gibran, Goethe, Gogol, Hemingway. Hugo into Joyce into Kliest intoLawrence into Maugham into Remarque into Shelley, Stein, Tagore, Thurber, Tolstoy,Twain, Wells, Wharton, and Woolf. And, finally, To The Lighthouse took a dive off the shelf and into a stand far below. The book opened and hit a candlestick whose candle’s wick had long ago drowned and been preserved in wax.
Without flame, all the candle could do was leap from it’s brass stick and roll. And so it did with the brass stick chasing in roll-form after it. The candle first ran directly into the arm of Allister’s phonograph, sending it to rest on a Tchaikovsky record. The brass stick took a detour provided by niches in the stand’s wood that sent it, first, into the phonograph’s on switch-bringing forth the booms of the 1812 Overture. And then, the brass stick plunged further down to the floor where a mouse trap had been set for other purposes. The candle, too, had not stopped with its first obstacle. And it dove further towards the mouse trap, landing on the bar just as the brass stick hit the release. And the inner-wicked candle flew through the air with Tchaikovsky’s notes punctuating the shot that destroyed Allister’s mirror.
Allister had only just recovered, had only just picked himself up to his feet, and had only just sprinted down the stairs after the skate and the books and the candle and it’s brass stick. And had only just arrived on the scene as Tchaikovsky faded away and Allister’s mirror shattered into thousands of pieces. And Allister stared, mouth wide open. He brought his palms to his eyes and tried to convince them to go back to sleep. But, the lids stayed open and the eyes stayed staring even at his palms. They focused on the wrinkles and cracks in his skin and reminded him of all that lay broken in front of him, the bad luck that had befallen him and would surely continue to befall him for seven more years.
And, without music, he stared in silence. For seven days he stared. Alternately switching from a view of his hands and a view of the broken mirror. The days passed in silence and fear and a slight feeling of hatred towards Rube Goldberg. And Allister waited for an anvil to drop for no reason or for termites to eat his house or for his house to suddenly burst into flames or for all three. And nothing happened. Nothing but staring. And Allister looked at the shattered mirror in front of him and wondered where the idea of this bad luck came from.
Perhaps it was the idea that, in pieces, you saw what you were and what you could be. Where you could have gone. All those places. And you realized the choices you had. Perhaps they made you question what you had and what you could have had. What you chose to have and what was merely a piece of what you once wanted, what you once could have had. Put together and sealed into one sheet they were you. But, put together in one sheet after you had seen all the pieces, perhaps made you regret your choices. Not Allister. not many people, he mused. For, even if one had seen a choice in a piece that they wished for, the lesson lay on the floor that choices could be made at any time. That we are, we could always be countless people in one. So, though, in some degree, this could explain why someone may believe in the bad luck of broken mirrors, Allister felt this more thoroughly proved how tales like these are told by those who have never had the experience of breaking a mirror.