x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Observing Life: Farewell to the magic mirror

The saddest thing about leaving my apartment will be having to say goodbye to the mirror that makes me look so thin.

There are a lot of things I'm going to miss about our apartment when we move in a week or so. For one thing, there's the way the sun bounces off our walls in the late afternoon, casting an ethereal sort of glow over everything. Then there's our handy little storage room, a 2m by 2m space that hides everything from extra rolls of toilet paper to a bulky elliptical machine - a hasty purchase I will forever regret, considering how little I used it.

But the thing I'm going to miss the most is a little piece of magic that I think was put in that building just for me - especially for me. A seductive piece of enchantment, sending me on my way every morning with a secret smile and a skip to my step and providing me with an instant boost after a long day.

I've been loathe to share my finding with anyone, despite my being convinced that I could make money out of it. But it was my secret, mine.

Now, however, with our move looming large on our horizon and the need to accept the fact that I will no longer have access to my bewitching, alluring - no, spellbinding - discovery, I suppose it's about time to confess.

Here it is: there's a magic mirror in the hallway of my apartment building, barely three metres from my front door and right in front of my lift, and that beloved mirror shows me what it looks like to be thin.

Perhaps only someone who has been overweight their entire life can understand the weight of that statement, but I'd think pretty much anyone would be seduced with the thought of seeing what they'd look like rid of those pesky last kilos.

For me, the magic mirror does so much more than make 20kg vanish off an admittedly heavy frame. No, it takes the fantasy several steps further. It slims thighs, elongates necks, trims waists, turns arms from clumpy branches to delicate twigs.

It's the perfect fantasy: an actual manifestation of all those daydreams, all those "what ifs?"and "if onlys".

The first time I caught a reflection of myself in that mirror, I did a double take. "Moving into our apartment has taken such a toll on me that I lost the weight overnight?," I wondered to myself. Nonsense, of course. And once the realisation sank in that I lived in a building with a verifiable magic mirror, you'd think I'd end up depressed at how good I look as a slim and slender waif, instead of elated at the mirage before me.

But no, it's never put me down, that mirror. Instead, it has fuelled me, shown me what could be just around the corner if I avoid those carbs, take that walk. It has whispered to me, "One day. One day, if you stick to it, this could be yours, and it's as wonderful as you always imagined."

Yes, I concede it hasn't persuaded me to climb atop the elliptical hidden in the little storage room, and true, it blinds me with grand illusions that the outfit I chose to wear that day doesn't make me look like a sack of potatoes. Still, I'm going to miss my little piece of magic. I'm going to miss it a lot.