Chapter 6

Written by: Suraya Dewing

Oliver held the ring with two fingers and as he rubbed them back and forth the ring swung up and down, catching the light as it moved. Alice winced against the sharp prism of light and when she opened her eyes she was on the other side of the mirror. She looked back at the scene she had just left and sadness filled her as the image faded. Oliver was now firmly lodged in her heart and unreachable.

Shaking the mood away she began to start her day as an accountant at Cape Town’s Epping Market. The wet ends of her hair flicked across her face as she pulled on her straight tight skirt, high heeled sandals and pink long sleeved top. 

There was a knock on her door and, expecting it to be Laea, who normally picked her up, called “Come in!”

Instead, Rashidi stepped through the door. His round features were twisted with pain and his dark eyes crimped by unshed tears. He looked as if he had not slept.

She heaved a huge, impatient sigh. “Didn’t you hear me when I said it would be better if we never saw each other again?”

His mouth became tight. “I think I deserve a better explanation than a vague…because.”

A car tooted outside.

She slung her red leather handbag over her shoulders. “I have to go. You know what Adriaan gets like if I’m late.”

“Can I at least see you again,” he pleaded. 

She opened the door wider as a clear indication that it was time to leave.

He held out his hands, imploring. “Look, I take back what I said about that mirror.” 

“You can’t unsay what you said,” she snapped.

He seemed to examine his thoughts before daring to speak.

"You have to admit it is weird."

She drew herself up tall.

"It's just an antique mirror."

"No, it isn't and you know that." He hunched his shoulders and dropped them. "It gives me the creeps."

"Well, you don't need to worry about it anymore," she said tartly.

Rashidi stepped toward her, his arms out in an attempt to reach her, his face creased by desperation.

 “I know you love that mirror so I’ll shut up about it.”

Sensing that this was a peace offering, Alice paused. 

“I did want to give it back but I can’t find the lady who sold it to me.” She looked down the hall to the mirror standing benignly facing them.  “It seems to have taken over my life,” she confessed.

He avoided her gaze. 

“It’s not normal, that’s for sure. The other day I was standing in front of it and I saw… He shuddered and mumbled, “…a slave trader.” His voice cracked and his black skin shone.

“Oh no,” she cried, her heart softening as she put her arms around him. “I’m sorry.”

“I think it should go,” he said.

She said nothing. She knew she could never part with her connection to Oliver.