When I was in grade four or five, me and my girlfriends played a game at sleepovers called “Bloody Mary.” It was a silly and terrifying game: we’d go into the bathroom, turn out all the lights, and chant into the darkness over and over again: “Bloody Mary! Bloody Mary!”
The repetition of Mary’s name was supposed summon some supernatural force, causing a bleeding Mary to appear in the bathroom mirror. We’d wait for her expectantly, straining our eye sockets staring into the mirror. Though sleepover legends told of girls seeing vibrant visions of the virgin, I can never recall seeing
anything at all—only the dim reflection of our terrified faces.
Until this day, when I wash my face before bed, I remember this game from my girlhood. I trick myself into believing that if I chant Mary’s name three times in my head, she’ll appear behind me. She never does.
But tonight, as I washed the city off my face, I looked up into the mirror and a woman materialized. She was nothing like the woman my grade-four self had expected or imagined; she didn’t stand behind me, she wasn’t bloody, and she definitely wasn’t Mary. But she was divine.
I’ve been waiting for the woman in the mirror my whole life.