Fragile

 

The kitchen floor is covered in fragments of glass. Splashes of red liquid glimmers in the morning sun, the glass sparkles like diamonds. It’s nine a.m., Monday, my hands now empty. I sit among the glass and start to weep, splashing the red liquid as if to wipe it away from my feet. Glass sticks into the skin, I grimace, I curse, I pick a piece from the floor, a long jagged piece, and start to push it against the skin on my arm. The glass cuts through and I watch as my own red liquid drip onto the floor. It’s warm.

She sits opposite me, a candle lit dinner between us. She delicately cuts into the steak, slicing the meat open as one would unzip the back of a brand new dress, more red liquid seeps into the potatoes. She chews each chunk slowly, thirty bites, one big audible swallow. She watches me watch her between each bite, it makes me sweat.

‘So, aren’t you going to ask how my day was?’ she asks.

‘Oh yes,’ I fumble. She takes a sip of water from her paper cup, and I stare down at my meal. The meat is cold.

She doesn’t watch television. She doesn’t read books. She doesn’t touch. But she does dance. She dances all alone, leaving me to sit and stare, but that is what I do. And she dances to Sun Ra, to Coltrane, to Vince Guaraldi. She dances with the blinds still open, she dances on bad days, she dances on summer days. But this time, she dances onto a piece of glass, left behind on the kitchen floor. Of course she stops. Of course she asks me:

‘What’s this? Is this… mine?’

It’s why I won’t let her dance outside.

She unzips her dress as one would tear apart a piece of meat, throwing everything off, until she stands naked before me. I smile as she pulls the skin of her hands off like gloves, as she slowly peels back her face, till it’s over her skull. The skin is hung inside the wardrobe, joining all her hair, her faces, her flesh. I stare at her smooth glass body, her innards held up by a clear ribcage, and I watch the heart beat as she finally smiles back. It’s the only time she can.

She sleeps with her cold glass body against my skin. I long for the warmth within, longing to cut a slit and push my hands inside her, to massage her heart, to feel the push of her kidneys, and take in the warm blood that flows through her hanging veins. But when I feel the cracks on her feet, the scratches on her cheeks, I start to weep, I haphazardly check for leaks.

I breathe onto her chest and draw a love heart, watching the muscle beat underneath. All I can do is worry about cracks, and breathe on glass.

I’m in pieces tonight, I’m in pieces every night.

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