Something was bothering Tom in his sleep. And when he woke and dressed, he noticed a red, painful lump, about the size of a pea, had appeared below his right eye. Two small, white dots sat like eyes and a dark mark widened into a smile as he approached the mirror.
‘There you are!’ said the spot, ‘I can see your face now. Was getting bored of staring at that stupid nose. Can’t say this is any better though! You’ve got something on your cheek by the way.’
Tom palmed his face.
‘No, the other side. Oh, wait! That’s just me!’
‘What do you want? I haven’t got time for this.’
‘Oh, be nice,’ it said haughtily. ‘I just popped up to see how you’re doing. See warts going on. I’m in a tight spot you see.’
It was mocking him, Tom thought, the spot was mocking him.
‘I was thinking…’ it continued.
‘…Well, it’s just that… do you think red suits me?’ It rolled its eyes and grinned.
‘I don’t have time for this.’ Tom ignored it, opened his mouth, and turned his attention to his toothache. But the spot became depressed and started weeping.
‘Stop crying,’ Tom said. This was most infuriating, he thought, the more agitated the manic depressive pimple became, the redder it was, and now it sat like a mini Mount Etna, threatening to erupt all over his work shirt. ‘Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!’
The spot’s lip trembled; it gasped for air as it tried to stifle its cries. Tom sighed. He was already late for work. There was only one thing for it. He placed his index fingers together squeezed the spot’s cheeks.
‘Please! Please! Don’t! I was just… lonely… I was tired of living, you know, inside. All those hairs, they keep teasing me on their way out. I just wanted some company, see how things were on the outside. Get some fresh air, you know.’
The spot seemed sad. Tom felt sorry for it. He could understand its predicament. He often felt depressed and squeezed out recently, not feeling wanted. Maybe he could leave it. It was an eyesore for sure. He’ll stick a plaster over it, pretend he had a shaving accident and deal with it later.
But just when Tom started feeling sorry for it, it started rubbing his face in it again. It started yapping on and on, and wouldn’t shut up. It wasn’t doing itself any favours, didn’t know where to draw the line. It kept saying how swell it was feeling, practically bursting with joy, it said; wanted to be called the ‘Scarlet Pimplenel’, and repeatedly asked if it should wear red or white to work.
Tom had enough. In a moment of rage, he put his fingers together, squeezed, and screamed at the mirror.
Suddenly it was gone. Everything went quiet.
Tom stared at the broken, silent remains in the mirror with a feeling of guilt and shame. What had he done? What had been the mouth was now a bloodied smudge, and the whites of its eyes had become dark. Something, which had seconds ago, breathed, laughed, and made bad jokes, was now a lifeless blot on his face’s landscape.
He tried to ignore it, but throughout the day, each time he closed his eyes or touched the sore, the spot’s lifeless face reminded him of his guilt for silencing a part of him that only wanted to be free and enjoy some company for a few moments of its short life.