"Why are we doing this again?" I interrupted Cody's monologue. Even though it was dark in my bedroom--I'd even stuffed towels to hide the crack of light from the hallway shining under the door--I could feel him turning his head and glaring at me.
"You're not taking this seriously," he said, accusingly. I tried not to smile. "I told you about it yesterday but evidently you weren't listening."
"Sorry," I said, though I really wasn't taking it seriously. Still, it was the sound of his voice I loved, the gravelly, deep roughness that I could listen to all day no matter what nonsense he was talking. "Tell me again."
"The mirror, Sunny," he said, sighing. I was sure he was rolling his eyes at my ignorance. "If you stare at the spot in the mirror where your reflection would be, and you sort of unfocus your eyes and clear your head, then you should see...a color, kind of glowing in the darkness in the shape of your reflection. "
"And that's my aura," I said, neutrally. I wasn't sure I believed any of this--in fact, I was pretty sure I didn't--but it was harmless fun.
"Don't scoff," he said. "The color of your aura can tell you a lot about--um--like, the kind of person you are. The kind of energy you're giving off that would provoke unconscious reactions in people. That kind of thing." I heard him shifting position, his chain wallet and various heavy silvery pendants clanking faintly.
"And this works...how?" I tried not to sound mulish, but it really sounded like a load of new-age crap to me. I'm not saying people don't have auras, or give off vibes or whatever, but the idea that Cody of all people could actually see them was, to me, completely unlikely. A Indian holy man with long white beard and years of meditation on a bed of nails, maybe. An eighteen-year-old emo theater geek with a patched-up trench coat and crystals around his neck...I didn't think so.
"It has to do with the electromagnetic energy given off by your physical body as well as your mental energies, the neural connections. You know, the synapses in your brain communicate using electrical signals," he said, pedantically. This time it was my turn to roll my eyes, unseen. "If you concentrate hard enough, if you relax and allow the rods and cones in your eyes to respond only to the energy given off by your body, then you'll be able to tune in to your own electromagnetic signature. You just have to make yourself a...conduit for that electrical energy."
"You mean like sticking a fork into a light socket?" I couldn't help it; it just slipped out. I dodged, but didn't miss the throw pillow Cody aimed at my head.
"I knew you weren't taking this seriously." He sounded offended. I could feel my face getting warm.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry." I put one hand on his shoulder, tentatively--he was uncomfortable being touched. "I want to do this, I swear."
I withdrew my hand and pulled my hair back into an elastic, sighing, waiting for Cody to center himself again or whatever it was he needed to do. Maybe he just needed to quit taking himself so seriously. Either way, I was getting tired of this tentativeness, tired of waiting. I hoped that today was going to change things between us, make him trust me a little more.
So we sat, and I waited patiently in the darkness, listening to him breathing deeply and evenly. Obediently, I kept my focus on the mirror in front of me. As I'd expected, though, even after several minutes I didn't see anything except the vague dark reflections of the two of us sitting there, our backs resting up against the side of my bed. I could just make out the unruly spikes of Cody's hair to the right of my reflection, and the slightly lighter area that was my pale blue t-shirt. I could feel the tension of his body, rigid beside me, and I had an almost uncontrollable urge to reach out to him, to pull his arm into my lap and stroke his fingers until they unclenched.
"That's funny," he said, breaking the silence, sounding puzzled.
"What's funny?" I was just glad it was over and we could talk normally again.
"Well, did you see what your aura's color was?"
"No," I said, hiding a sigh. Of course not. "I looked, and did what you told me, but no luck. Maybe I'm just not good at this."
"The funny thing is, I was looking for yours, too, but I just...couldn't tell. I didn't see anything. This time," he said, the hope creeping back into his voice. "We'll have to try again some other time. Maybe it wasn't dark enough."
"Maybe," I said agreeably, but strangely, I was disappointed, too.
This week's piece was inspired by twelve by Flickr user receivingend. It's very vaguely inspired by a real-life incident. Check the usual suspects for more Flickr Fiction: The Gurrier, Isobel, Elimare, Chris, TadMack, Neil, and Valsha.