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He gets out of the shower towel-less, turning on the bathroom light. It is still early morning, and the sunlight just barely shines in.
He applies the smallest dab of toothpaste onto his brush. There is an order in which his teeth are brushed: top left, bottom left, top right, bottom right. He gargles twice. Attempts a few scrapes with the tongue cleaner. His razor has dulled so he grabs a new one, but not before wrestling with the plastic that encloses it. He squeezes out a generous amount of shaving cream from the can and lathers up.
When he finishes, he washes away the remaining foam. There is a small cut on his right cheek that he didn’t feel. He wants to ignore it, but knows that the blood will keep trickling out if he doesn’t. Cursing silently, he opens up the medicine cabinet to look for the ointment. As he shuffles through the colourful glass bottles and expired orange medicine containers, he finds a half full tube of Neosporin. He stops as he is about to close the cabinet door.
The medicine cabinet sits on the wall adjacent to the one with the mirror he is now facing. But since the cabinet door is also a mirror, and the two mirrors are less than ninety degrees apart, they are reflecting each other. He sticks the Neosporin in the space between them, and suddenly there are hundreds of mirror images of the tube. He sticks his pinky in, which is still regrowing a fingernail (from his car trunk door hitting it). Looking into the big mirror, he can see a dozen pinky fingers in lines, like grass.
He hoists himself up; sits on the countertop. From there, he can put his face in between the mirrors and he does, moving the cabinet door back and forth, adding and subtracting layers of his face.
He’s missed a spot – a small dab of cream sits under his left ear. He grabs the razor and carefully cuts it away. But the spot has only disappeared from the first image in the mirror. He turns his head farther and in the other layers, sees a speck of white. He attacks the area again, pressing harder, and watches closely into the mirror.
As the razor runs over his skin, the speck leaves the second image. He touches cabinet mirror, trying to rub off the white, but the other spots don’t go away.
He moves the cabinet door closer to the adjacent wall, creating more images. He tries again, and the third spot goes away. Then the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth – the skin grows raw from the dry shaving.
His phone buzzes. A text from Andrea: Dinner still? At 8?
Him 8 says Of course! See you there.
Him 7 replies with Babe, don’t you know me?
Him 6 exclaims, My meeting’s gonna run late. How about 9?
Him 5 cries, So sorry, can we do another night, hon?
Him 4 says ;)
Him 3 calls instead.
Him 2 screams, Why can’t we get married already?!?
Him 1 says nothing.
He jumps off the counter and shuts off the light. Dresses quickly. Grabs the laptop bag from the dining room table and pops a pill from its front pocket. He’s still writing his response as he walks briskly out of the house to his car. He needs to go – now, or he’ll be late for work.