splinters .

as she stands over the mess she’s made, a mosaic of imagines clutter her mind. the reflection of sunlight through various shards of glass beam back at her, entreating her to shield her eyes and reminding her to shield her heart. for when something is so fragile and easily broken the remainder is never pretty.

thirty eight faces meet her eyes as she glares defiantly, and stare straight through her even as she shifts her gaze. they tilt with every movement, soften with every moment of weakness and harden with every reminder of reality. she looks at them all, one by one, wondering if the different angles will show one face with less exposure. less pain. but every time her eyes refocus the image adjusts itself to reflect the same thing over and over again.

she lays down a cloth, thick and coarse but weaved delicately, almost as if it were a bandage. smoothing its edges, she picks up the first shard of glass and lays it over the cloth. start with the largest, she tells herself. with a little direction, eventually everything will come together.

so she sits, retrieving the pieces from the pile one by one and piecing them together on the floor. she forgets the glue, but figures it’s pointless because it will never be complete anyway. hours, days, weeks pass until the largest fragments have all found a space, and their belonging pieces together a puzzle that will reflect but not understand. new pieces are found, accumulated from elsewhere; the picture is not whole, but it’s good enough.

she dusts off the remainders that have been rendered unnecessary and picks them up to dispose of them into the bins of the past. the glass slides across her finger forming a smooth but deep cut; she doesn’t react for a second due to the surprise. she remembers when the shard used to reflect a part of her, and even though there is no longer space for it in the delicate collage she has created on the floor, it knows it has made its mark.

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