Same Mirror, Different Reflections 

Curtain raise.

She is part of the hustle and bustle in the kitchen. The knife falls to the chopping board like an orchestra at work, cutting the onions into perfect squares as her mother and grandmother had taught her. She moves to the stove to stir the lentils that are slowly simmering on low heat and adds a little turmeric to the mix for a slightly yellow tint to the red brown mixture. Her mother walks over to her and smiles as she places a hand on her shoulder. She observes how her little girl had grown up into this woman who is now the master of her own kitchen, a gracious hostess to the guests of her house and the magic behind this traditional Gujarati meal. She looks up at her mother to realise there are tears glistening in her eyes. ‘What is it, mum?’ she asks as she reaches for her hand. ‘Nothing, I am just watching my little girl at work.’ She smiles at her mother, understanding the depth of her statement. And then, back to task at hand, she pours the lentils into a serving bowl and takes them to the dining room when the men of the household are sat, chattering away about business, the housing market and the economy in general. She is fondly greeted by her father and uncles, who joke about being famished and eagerly awaiting the food she has been preparing since the early hours of that morning.

Curtain fall. Curtain raise.

She takes a pause from her frantic typing and reaches for her headset to answer the phone before it rings for the third time. ‘Good Afternoon. Ah…hello Derek, how are you? Thank you for calling me back.’ Half an hour later, after a discussion which covers the weather, Derek’s children, his investment portfolio and his general views on politics and the economy, she replaces her headset. She taps the key to insert a full stop on the notes she was typing and finalises her electronic order blotters for the investments Derek wants to make after their discussions. A good day’s work she thinks, mentally calculating how much revenue the investments would contribute to her annual target for the bank. Coffee in hand, she then walks briskly across the floor to the presentation room. She catches a glimpse of her reflection in the glass as she approaches the meeting room, and straightens her skirt and adjusts her blazer before knocking and entering. A blanket of white slides with various graphs and numbers awaits her as she takes her place amongst the sea of suits, who are also there for the presentation on Foreign Exchange hedging strategies.

Curtain fall. Curtain raise.

She takes a sip of the red velvety elixir (read: Malbec) and instantly feels a wave of calm pass through her tension headache and normally rather stiff posture. Half a glass later, she feels the comfort of the confidence blanket wrapped around her shoulders. She catches a glimpse of her reflection in the window that looks out onto the courtyard and realises she is smiling brightly and almost has a twinkle in her eye. She looks around herself and takes a moment to take in her environment. She’s still surrounded by a sea of suits but many of them now sans tie. Though the lighting is dim, she notices the mimimalistic glass top tables and antique wood decor – a lovely contrast to the crisp winter air outside – the feeling of relaxation, acquaintances (friendship would be too strong a word) and, of course, warming red wine. It makes her happy to see so many smiles around her and in that moment she realises she is one of them. She fits in. Well, almost. ‘Next round’s on me. Malbec again?’ She snaps out of her thoughts and smiles into those kind eyes that are asking her the question. She winks and nods, ‘Yes, thank you.’

Curtain fall. Curtain raise.

She wipes away the last speck of mascara and looks at her bare face in the mirror. It’s in this moment that she feels most at ease, and almost like who she really is. It’s as if the layers of the onion have finally been peeled to reveal its inner core. She feels exposed and fraudulent for the multiple personalities she encompassed and lived in the last seventy two hours. When did it all become so… antagonistic? When was it decided that only one personality should exist in one space? ‘You’re a million miles away. Everything ok?’ She feels the familiar arms around her shoulders and the warmth instantly makes the dark thoughts disappear. ‘Nowhere, I’m right here with you.’ she says, smiling. He is amongst the few that truly knows all her multiple personalities and faces. And he loves her for them.

Curtain fall.

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