Lyssa learns her new scars by tracing them in the mirror. Still raw and puckered between the stitches. She holds her breath and counts until she can’t look anymore. Yesterday she made it to twenty-seven. Today it’s only eight. She wraps her stomach back up and goes to feed the baby.
In the kitchen, she catches her reflection warped on a dozen surfaces. The microwave door. The chrome blender. The pots hung from a ceiling rack all mock some angle of her face. So many different Lyssas. She recognizes none of them.
“We have only to understand the mirror phase as an identification…namely, the transformation that takes place in the subject when he assumes an image.”Jacques Lacan, Ecrits (1977)
Is she disfigured? Lyssa touches the glass, but not her own skin. It’s cool, hard. Her nails tap. She remembers her stomach, smooth and warm in the sun. Droplets of water from the pool. The dip between hip bone and the plains of skin. This body now is foreign as the bloated one it’s replaced. Or maybe she was always like this, and she’s forgotten. And if she never looked, how long would it be until she forgot herself completely?
Fifteen, not bad. The baby cries.
Her breasts bring silence. Lyssa’s body has some powers, she’s relieved to find. She cups the suckling head and thinks how odd to love an idea but not its practice.
The moment when an infant first recognizes itself in the mirror, associating itself with its reflection, held significance for Lacan. Early identification of the self beyond the ego. Realizing there’s more outside our minds, outside of us. Realizing we’re objects, too.