When the two faces met in the mirror, the one looking the other seen, there was a sudden recognition that something was missing. A longing for the way it used to be, not yesterday, nor last week or even anytime in the past year or two. But the longing was for anything unchanged in the mirror.
He looked at his face, at the age spot just under his eye... the faint lines on his nose, the "smile wrinkles" around his eyes and gray hairs in his two day unshaven beard. These were all new, since the last time he really looked. That time, as best he could remember, was sometime in his early twenties.
Then he looked in. Past the age spot, into the frame that was the wrinkles above his cheekbones, to the brown color and pupil floating on the white of his eyes. He ignored, for a moment, everything around them, and said to himself, "There. That's what's left of me. That's what has changed the least." Even though it wasn't true, for his ability to see close up and far away simultaneously is not what it was back then. Only the outward appearance of his vision was the same, and only that in the very center.
He couldn't stay long, the seen was getting bored with being observed. So, he stepped back, satisfied for the moment that there was at least one thing left of him that quelled the longing for what used to be. It was not youthfulness, but innocence that escaped him this morning. And even that was not very easily seen.
On his way to work, he counted the things that swept him away from his younger self. Each one, in itself, a complete story of its own. The sum of them, totaled together, was cause for grief and joy both. Each story, person, or event that eroded his innocence carried those two faces of their own.
Each looked into the mirror at the other, one seeing, the other seen. Grief observed joy. They traded places. Joy looked grief deeply in the eye, past all the markings of a worrisome unforgiveness. And backed away slowly, for the moment, satisfied, and said, "There. That's what's left of me. That's what's changed the least..."