One morning, a year after my family’s arrival in Canada, I stood in our basement, looking at my reflection in the mirror. The powder blue shirt I was wearing was part of my work uniform and it made me look sallow, a pallidness intensified by the neon light above. The mirror was a collection of reflecting squares stuck together on the basement wall, in an area that had once been the bar. Some of the squares were missing and I saw myself in fragments. I could see my head, but not my neck, my left arm but not my right; my left leg was missing too.
In that disjointed mirror was a view of my basement bedroom as well. The plastic wood-veneer panelling, which was supposed to create a warm cosiness, did not absorb light, like real wood, but reflected the neon tube above. The carpet was a worn lime green. My bed was a box spring mattress that was here when we bought the house, a rickety desk from Towers was shoved up against a wall.