Thursday, August 25, 2016

Glass.

It seems too frequent that I am walking barefoot in my house and suddenly feel the sharp puncture of something foreign in the ball of one foot, or the pad of my toe, or my heel, and to look down and see bright red blood, leaving a gory trail where I hobble, and I can register what the Hell just happened.
It's a shock to suddenly feel a shard of glass pressing through layers of your skin.
It's a shock to be walking in your own home and experience this pain so frequently.

Luckily the kids, also always barefoot, like me, rarely experience this.  My feet seem to find the danger and bring it with me, wherever I move, until I can pull it out, and wonder where it came from. Hopefully not something that I cherished was cleaned up poorly, after being destroyed, and long ago put in the trash...  My foot just finding a tiny remnant.  Hopefully the broken thing--a water glass, a mirror, a candle, a dish, a vase, a teacup, a wine glass--was an accident, a mistake; not just carelessness or a purposeful smash.
Smash.
Smash.

My body tenses when I hear glass breaking.   It's a sound I hear so very often.  It's a sound that makes me cringe.  I have cried, when I'm already really on the edge, when I hear that sound, (and then Sam's voice cursing), because I feel like I know when the shattering signifies something important.


I was thinking about writing about this a few days ago.  I guess it's not funny to tell you that just this evening as my husband came home from work with groceries, I heard glass smashing, and although Stella exclaimed something vague, he didn't tell me what had broken.  "A vase," Stella said.  I didn't want to know.  I often don't want to know.  And Sam doesn't tell me.  If I ask him a few times, "Was that glass I heard break this morning?  What broke?  What glass broke?  What broke?"  

Sometimes he avoids telling me.  He said he is embarrassed for being clumsy.  That time it was a crystal vase; the only large vase we own.  Owned.  It was a wedding gift from one of my former elementary school students, and her family.  We had other, small cheap "vases," however this one was used for every bouquet of flowers Sam has given to me since our honeymoon.

It was out on the counter, pushed to the back, because it is usually stored under our kitchen sink, but Sam emptied the cabinet a month or so ago because the sprayer/hose thingy was leaking into the cabinet and it started to smell funny.  He was swinging bags of groceries up onto the counter, between our sink and stove, and it was tipped over.  He told me all this a few days later.

I only asked him again, or even remembered that most recent "smash," because I was getting the kids a snack and as I was walking from the fridge sink to wash a nectarine, my left foot was impaled by an thick, clear piece of glass.  I'm pretty sure I must jump a little whenever I step on something sharp, and then lift the injured appendage off the ground, not wanting to rest any weight on it.  Anyway, I stopped to pull it out, studied the piece carefully, turning it around between my thumb and index finger, and I tossed it in the trash.  

This time I realized there was most likely more pieces of glass, like that one, around that immediate area, (since such a large piece was missed during clean up).  I thought, I will sweep, then vacuum, then get down on my hand and knees and wipe the floor down once I'm done with my task...  (Getting snacks for the kids, remember?)

Ah, the bloody prints multiplied on the maple floors, until I was finished feeding the kids.
Blood just gets sticky as it congeals--coagulates--if you leave it.
I even forget it happened.  I forget about the wound.
I don't forget to clean up the blood, I just forget that it even happened.

Anything that can puncture skin is an object.  It is a thing.  And things made of glass are delicate.  And delicate things break easily.  And even if that delicate thing was something you wanted to see intact forever and ever and ever, there is no truly safe place for it, is there?  Even if you place it away from reach, and try to protect it with soft things, there will always be a chance a piece of it will end up in your foot.  

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