He finally reached home. The taxi asked for extra because of the traffic they had fought their way through, the fact that it was evening and the part of town they were in would yield him no more passengers for the day, and because that little bit extra didn't really make a difference to him now, did it? He in turn paid the man without arguing because he saw it as buying some peace for himself, and one didn't get many opportunities to buy peace these days.
He reached home, mumbled a hello to whoever was sitting or not sitting in the living room, and headed for the bathroom. He locked the door behind him and stood there for a while, staring at his shoes. A strange light-headedness overtook him and he wondered whether it had anything to do with the fact that he hadn’t eaten anything since he had heard the news. Finally, he gathered enough courage to look up. And like that, he was transfixed.
The advantage of looking at your own reflection is that you know exactly where your flaws lie. It gives you the chance to pretend you can’t see them. So he ignored the unruly hair. He noticed the beginnings of a double chin but rationalized it by saying it gave him an air of gravity. He saw instead a pair of brown eyes, which seduced but did not threaten. He smiled, and was struck by how minimal the movement of his lips was, and how it genrated so much quiet warmth. He took off his shirt. He realised he had put on weight, but it could have been worse. His arms were just the right length - they complemented his height without reaching ape-like proportions; he also knew they made him look thinner but couldn’t explain why.
And like that, he was done with kidding himself. He had become his own fan club. Suddenly he was looking at his shoes again. Words came to him like echoes in a dream sequence from some low-budget movie. You’re fine, nothing’s wrong with you, you’re normal.
He took off all his clothes. Looked around for an object sharp enough to cause pain, and finally picked up the comb. He then took a deep breath and raised his head. He took a hard look at his unremarkable eyes, his ungainly form. Pressed the comb to his chest so that the points dug into his skin and made him grit his teeth, and started repeating the same line over and over until it became a mantra, a string of words whose powers of sustenance seem to derive more from repetition than from the intrinsic healing power of the words themselves.
“There’s no design, your flaws are fine. There’s no design, your flaws are fine. There’s no design, your flaws are fine…”