Reflections on Allison Stone
Allison Stone lived all alone, and loves her life that way. Allison Stone worked from home, and could stand it no other way.
She spent her day typing away on her sterile computer. She loved her job, spending her time in the pristine world of virtual numbers and logarithms, computer programs and nameless data strings. There were few interactions with the people, the managers and clients who ordered her work. These were now all accomplished from the safe distance of telecommuting. She was safe.
Alice hated going outside, meeting people. Outside was full of noise and dirt, chaos and danger. You could get hurt outside. You could break a heart outside. Inside was so much better.
Alas for Allison Stone, for her apartment was far from warm and cozy. It was barren and blank. To fill it meant to shop and that meant visiting crowded stores and meeting dangerous people. Alice could shop on-line. She spent her days living on her computer so shopping from it would not be the problem. It was the people. Furniture would require letting strange men into her house to set it up. Fixtures would require strangers doing the installation. Such uncomfortable intrusions she avoided as often as possible. So Allison Stone lived a barren lonely life in a barren lonely house.
Then came the fateful day when Alice discovered the "trick". She stuck a picture of a new shower curtain in a crack in the mirror of her bathroom. By sticking the picture between the glass and the backing, and by looking just the right way and from just the right place, when you looked in the mirror, the reflection back was of the bathroom with the new curtain.
Alice did not order the new curtain. She ordered a mirror using her computer. She requested they leave it safely in the hallway. It arrived a few days later. After the delivery man was finally out of the building Alice snuck out, grabbed her package, and rushed back into the safety of her apartment.
She set the new mirror above her TV in her small living room. Then she began to take measurements. This was all about perspective and dimension, math and ratios. This was a simple application of safe clean numbers. Alice could work with this. She then went back to her computer and brought up photos of all the furniture, the fixtures and the accessories she had often wanted for her room.
Using her computer skills, the math and the ratios, she printed out the pictures just the perfect size. Each she carefully glued behind the mirror's glass then replaced the mirror's backing. When she hung the mirror she looked up and saw the perfect living room she wished she owned.
She was happy. Her living room was still blank and lifeless, but when she looked in the mirror, it was perfect.
She bought more mirrors. She collected more photos. She leaned how to remove all kinds of backings from all kinds of mirrors.
For three years she bought mirrors, printed pictures, sized, fit, and hung them. She learned to layer some of the photos, some in front of the mirror and some behind the glass. Occasionally, multiple layers of glass were used. Wonderful 3-d effects were created.
At the end of that time there was hardly an inch of wall that was not covered in mirrors. Some were large, some were small. There were antique gilded mirrors, and flat modern ones. There were curved beveled and odd shaped ones that flowed into each other. In each mirror was the illusion of the reflection of the perfect apartment. It was home and cozy, comfortable and warm. It did not reflect the reality that was Allison Stone's home.
Alice was happy.
She sat on an old torn recliner, but everywhere she looked, from all the angles she dared to see, she saw a soft, comfortable, beautifully brocaded chair impeccably clean and warm. All around her mirror-lined blank room she viewed the perfect recreation of a warm, sunny, loved home. If a speck of dust or a slight realignment dared to threaten her fantasy, she quickly ignored it, and did not even notice when she cleaned off the speck, or realigned the mirror.
She could have lived like that happily ever after if it wasn't for was the cat. It was a large fluffy Persian, with kind eyes and soft fur. She printed it out and gently placed it on the paper settee in the middle of her illusionary apartment.
That night she slept on her small ugly bed, staring up into the ceiling mirror which showed her tucked into a big warm oaken bed covered in hand made quilts. Her dark unkempt hair appeared as an almost angelic light blonde halo that surrounded her head.
When she awoke she got the oddest impression that she was looking down on the bed.
She moved, mirror to mirror around the apartment. She had grown accustomed to the trick of only looking at the mirrors that showed the right perspective, as if she moved from furnished room to furnished room, not existing in the spaces between.
When she got to the living room she noticed something. The cat was not on the settee. It lay curled comfortably on the couch.
How odd? Alice knew she had left the cat photo stuck on the settee. She reached for the mirror, to pull it down and fix it, when she was stopped. Her hands would not go around the mirror frame. It was as if she was hitting a glass wall that wouldn't let her out.
She ran back to the bedroom, this time trying not to look at the mirrors, but that was all she could see. The mirrors were windows to the perfect little apartment with the perfect little cat. Alice threw herself at them, but to no avail. She ran and ran and ran, trying to break free of the glass prison that held her, to feel anything, anyone, but all she could find were glass walls.
The landlord entered Allison Stone's apartment three days later. The loud crying of a hungry cat had brought him in. He knew Alice's fondness for privacy, and her automated checks were never late, but pets were definitely against the lease and others were beginning to complain.
Alice Stone was not there.
What was there was beautiful furniture, elegant brass fixtures, warm cozy rugs and quilts. It was quite possibly, the most perfect apartment the landlord had ever seen.
When the police came days later searching for the missing person that few really missed, they noted the exquisite taste of Ms. Stone, and the overall comfy feel of the furnished apartment. Sergeant Reynolds commented, four times, that going into cop work was his biggest mistake, as apparently all the money was in computers.
They doubted that Ms. Stone would have left this oasis of order and fine taste willingly, and placed her as an official missing person.
The only odd thing they reported in the whole apartment was a small picture, glued between the glass and the backing of a broken mirror in the bathroom. It was an unflattering picture of Ms. Allison Stone, laying on the bathroom floor, crying. If you looked at it from just the right angle, at just the right distance, it almost appeared as if she were really there.