My granny was an eccentric old woman. I had seen photographs of her when she was younger.
She was beautiful and elegant. Her beauty and elegance even followed her somewhat into her
golden years. People still mistook the seventy year old woman for being in her forties or fifties.
In spite of this, my granny doesn't own a single mirror. I always thought this was a little strange,
as my mother always kept a mirror in every room.
Like my granny, she was an exceptionally beautiful woman. However, unlike granny, she
wanted to be constantly reminded of it. This always struck me as an odd obsession
of hers, but as it was hers, I did not question it. I always assumed that her vanity was what
caused my granny and mother to have a minor split in their relationship. Of course, it's only
noticed when granny comes over and mother grudgingly hangs black cloths over each and every
single mirror. Mother's smile was always warm - so long as those mirrors were uncovered and
she could look at herself whenever she pleased - and she smiled like ice when granny came and
she had to cover them.
To a child, these subtle things were lost. To a teen, they were avoided as tactfully as possible.
That in particular was a lesson I learned the hard way. I was thirteen and working with my
mother in the kitchen. We were making cookies and I absent-mindedly asked her, "Why doesn't
granny like mirrors?" She stopped mixing the cookie dough and looked at me dead in the eye.
"Because granny is silly," she responded, beating the dough just a little rougher than she should
have. "But why is granny silly?" I asked again.
She was starting to get irritated- I could tell by the grinding of her teeth and the wonton way of
whisking the dough, the barely contained anger behind her voice, "Because granny is a silly old
woman who doesn't know any better." She set the bowl down and turned towards a mirror to fix
her hair. This was a habit of hers to calm herself down whenever she got angry or upset. I knew
that to press on would be to endanger myself, so I didn't ask her anymore and we finished the
cookies without further incident.
That was the way our life was for the next three years- always full of an uneasy and bitter tension
between the three women of the household. My mother was angry at my granny because of her
silly ways, my granny at my mother because of her vanity - and I was angry at them for neither
getting along nor explaining their feud.
They were going about their polite business with the mirror positioned perfectly in front of them.
They were discussing whether or not to hang holly or hellebore in front of the door. I was
wrapped up in a red sweater that I had gotten last year and drinking some chilled eggnog. Mother
and granny's voices never rose above polite conversation, though their eyes screamed at each
other for them. Their white knuckles ached to bury themselves in the other's nose, the teeth
ground together to prevent one from biting the other's head off.
I couldn't stand it anymore. I stood up abruptly, not wishing to take part in this subtle battle and
was on my room. I tripped in front of the mirror and a hand shot out to grasp something- anything- to stop me from falling. I grabbed a fist full of cloth and down with me came the black
covering. My mother looked at the mirror to berate me for my clumsiness and screamed in sheer
terror at what she saw. I looked up to see what she was screaming about and followed her gaze to
Where my granny should have been was an ancient and grey wolf.