Fine China | Adi Bracken
I broke my girlfriend’s arm today.
We replaced it with a spaghetti ladle. She can scoop thin objects into the ladle’s prongs, but fatter objects are out of the question.
She asks, “What do you see in me?”
I reply, “I see the person you’re becoming, and she’s beautiful.”
She runs her pointer and middle fingers over the groove where her nose used to be and cries. Her tears shimmer on the plates composing her cheeks.
I miss the way steam poured out of her arm’s spout when she got mad. A wispy smoke tendril crawling its way from her overheated porcelain to brush against my flesh.
“You don’t understand.” She peers at me with her sugar spoon eyes.
“I don’t,” I say. It’s all I can.
“Look at me.”
I take in the bamboo salad servers replacing her delicate feet. The circular Tupperware lids holding her white glazed legs together. The crack in her lip repaired with caulk.
“I love you,” I say. I am out of words, and these three are relationship binders, more like Elmer’s school glue than gorilla glue. They have crumbled with frequent use.
I stand behind her and trace my fingers over the golden swirls emblazoned into her shoulders. She shivers, her ceramic pieces clinking and clanking together.
My tongue snakes from my mouth, and I run it over the dragon’s head at the top of her spine.
I leave words behind and meld flesh to glass, fusing them into something new.
“No,” she says. She skitters across the kitchen floor, away from me and toward the front door.
I hear loose fragments bouncing around in her skull. I could take her cookie jar lid off and remove them, but she won’t let me. She says they remind her of what she’s been through, like scars on skin.
“I love you,” I repeat.
“I hate what I’ve become,” she says.
My resolve tucks itself into the spaces between her glass.
Adi Bracken is a writer and librarian based in Pittsburgh, PA. She founded Quiet Storm Literary Magazine, a single issue magazine dedicated to writing about illness. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in OyeDrum Magazine, Every Day Fiction, Flash Fiction Magazine, and other literary venues. She currently serves as the director of her local public library.