(Below is Rosalind Stevenson's The Narcissist. More fiction, from Janet Kuypers, as well as poetry and essays from our third issue still available, only $2.00 ppd!)
by Rosalind Stevenson
She catches him lately catching glimpses of himself, catches the thin arch of his eyebrows, the quick turn of his head, the wily dart of his eyes to each reflecting surface. She tells herself he's seeing that his tie is hanging straight, that the knot is neatly fastened at the center of his throat. It's been going on for some time now, for too long now, but she's pretending not to notice, not so much for his sake, but for herself, because it is, after all, odd for a man to act this way. In the restaurant tonight, for example, he sat mostly silent, mostly the whole time silent, hardly touching his food, only picking at it, sipping listlessly from his wine glass, staring strangely past her to the mirror on the wall. And then again in the taxi, his eyes, looking just whites (?) from where she sat, pointed sharply, fixed upon the window to his image pointing back. And later once again, over nightcaps on the terrace, he faced not out to the skyline but inward to the doors, to the glass doors, lit from behind by table lamps, to the outline of his body indistinct upon the glass. What can she say to him? You're getting vain? Can she describe the icy feeling that is rising in her heart? In bed now she approaches him, reaches out to him, pulls him to her through the sheets, maneuvers him to where his eyes must look at hers, to where his eyes must look at hers, to where his gaze must meet her own. Will she tell him how much she has wanted him to look at her? For so long? He would only, coolly, sanely, ask her what brought this on? Suddenly she has the distinct impression it is still not her he is looking at, but at his own reflection in her pupils, again at himself, again. She freezes. Is that possible? Can he really see his own reflection in her eyes? Has she ever seen hers in his? In anyone's? Her mind races to examine everything she knows of eyes. She is afraid to move now, afraid even to blink now,as if the soft shutting of her eyes, for even an instant, might make him disappear. Afraid, too, that the thing which he is looking at will surface, will bubble up, will take hold, will take flesh, will come leaping out at her, will do what, do what to her?
Published 1995. Crowright 2000 Osric Publishing. Last updated 07.02.2000