No Reflection


(Photo: Pixabay)


The full-length glass was bedecked in heavy gilded glory. A forest of paintings crowded around it, their layered oils glistening in the candlelight.

She stopped and stared back at the faces. Unsmiling figures in stiff postures clad in roiling silk and velvet cloths.

Perhaps they ought to have felt familiar. The line of jaw, the slant of brow, the coil of hair above a hooded eye. She had seen all those before. She could again. If she just let her eyes glide toward the mirror.

She would not.

Know them.

Her ancestors.

Her captors.





For Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt: Mirror in 95 words


41 thoughts on “No Reflection

      • Very true. I do not believe in predestination. Each life is meant (somehow) to be lived to the fullest.
        But after years of trying, my dark sun tan ain’t happening. Irish blood, redheaded mother. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Not everything physiological can be changed, but much that is psychological and behavioral CAN be. And that is, perhaps, what matters most. A lot more than melanin count or the colors possible by exposure to the sun … (I have two colors, pale and lobster red in the sun…and a lotta freckles besides, so there’s that … 😉 ) As for my behavior and beliefs and the moral compass I try to live by, I hope it is like some of those I’d known through life (some of them kin of body, some of them kin of heart) … and I hope that it is decidedly NOT like that of some I’d known (some of them kin of body, but decidedly not kin of heart) …

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      • History also supports, thank goodness, that we need not be our genes, and that we can do a LOT better than what some of our ancestors did. Some because they didn’t know better. Some because they didn’t choose better. Neither of which need bind us. Humans first. Anything else is secondary and the hierarchies are not preordained nor moral nor necessary.
        Here’s to sunblock, truth, and empathy.

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    • Amen to that, my friend! Indeed, the resemblance need not go more than skin deep, as far as her own knowing of herself and who SHE is and can become. We come from someplace and someones but it does not need to dictate who we become.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Indeed … though they may not describe themselves as such … And along the same lines I wonder how many slave owners who had forced themselves on their female ‘possessions’ to increase the numbers of their enslaved … would see themselves as ancestors and captors, both.

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      • Sigh. And for too many of THEIR self-declared descendants, it feels too threatening to even allow that history to be TOLD or TAUGHT. So they want to erase the very reality of it under the pretense that to speak of it is the wrongness …

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      • I wasn’t sure I was thinking of it, either, when I started writing, but then it occurred to me how frequent forcing was, throughout history, and how so many were, in fact, captive of the very ‘families’ they had belonged to. Belonging being quite literally meant. And … yes, I wonder about the realities of those who find out that their ancestry included brutality by ‘masters’ of all kinds. Including all manner of cults, but even more so, the many faces of slavery.
        A friend of mine recently did her ancestry test and found out without doubt that there was a substantial ‘white’ genome in her, which can only be that her ancestral women had been forced by white men in their lives, against whom they had absolutely no voice or defense or rights to deny what was stolen from them.

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      • Yes, I understood … And, yes, it is interesting how our brains go all kinds of places, often well before we are aware of where they’re taking us and had intended to all along …
        UGH for those who want to deny the parts of history they prefer not be known, even if those parts of history are what had built so much of the country they claim to respect and care for … and yet, they’d rather pretend that the experience of millions through it ought to be ignored, silenced, minimized and vilified for even wanting to be known.

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      • 100%
        Even more so when it is not all shiny and pretty (and it rarely is, anyway). ESPECIALLY when it is a lot not shiny and pretty. For to know who we are and what we can choose to NOT be, is even more important than knowing only what others want us to know about who we are …

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  1. Of course, Na’ama. That is the case the world over. I wonder how haunting it is for those who know their ancestors were tormentors? I bet they never know because no one would admit guilt to such horrors, those stories would definitely remain untold to preserve reputation and assumed innocence.

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    • Indeed, it adds pain and rubs salt in the wounds, doesn’t it? Especially as so many whose history clearly declared that their ancestors were slave-owners, now refuse to allow their children to even be taught about it, or insist on sanitizing history so they not need face the reality of horrors their ancestors have unleashed, maintained, and glamorized. The pain this causes to those whose roots are being denied a voice … ugh. Indeed.

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      • I know, disgusting! I share your horror over this Na’ama, trust me. I think Black History should be taught as part of all other history, being that it’s so entrenched in it, not just one month of the year. I think all these stories need to be heard no matter how horrific, the truth needs to be known. I can’t begin to imagine how many untold stories there are, the burdens people have had to suffer and carry as a result of the slave trade.

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      • Exactly! And while those who wish to continue to silence history claim that to teach the truth is to “force children to hate themselves”, what they are actually saying is that they KNOW how hateful this behavior was AND that they refuse to let history be told, lest it forces them to face the legacy – ongoing legacy – of those very horrors. Children can learn history and grow beyond it and do better, but to refuse to teach them what had been, is a cowardice in my view. For it robs them, too, of choice or voice.

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      • I totally agree. Thank God for blogs and social media and all those books published in recent years that are talking more about this history and showing the world what horrors are still happening. It is slowly being unravelled, I believe. Far too slowly but the world is experiencing the wake up call it should, little by little.

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