Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Broken


Broken by Alan

To call me supernatural would be a bit of a stretch, I think. But I do dwell in the ether of your dreams. And by dreams I mean the off hours of the conscious mind. Take, for instance, the moment of the drive in which you forget your temporal attachments. Forget the spouse, the responsibilities, the promise of children someday. Forget what’s broken in your parents…and their parents’ parents. There’s a split that happens that flips like a trigger…and then you’re back again. But in that instance, I’m there.

Consider again, another moment. You’re in the bathroom of the rest stop. There’s a knock outside. You’ve forgotten where you are and why you are going there. The light the color of phobias throbs. Something falls and shatters. The knock continues. It’s not me. I’m in there. With you. For a short time. All your life you’ve attempted to name me, but it’s really not possible because I only exist for the duration of a half-finished sentence, which is, for many, enough.

***

Broken Bells by Johanna

Jake insisted on inviting his ex-girlfriend, Tracey, to their wedding. They were friends after all, ever since reuniting on Facebook two years ago. They hadn't seen each other in person for nearly 6 years. Maggie argued at first; it was a small wedding in her parents' house. But he claimed it was important for him to include her, his first love and dear friend, as a symbolic gesture.

Maggie invited Tracey because she wanted to show Jake (or convince herself) that she trusted him, that she was not the jealous type. Tracey arrived two days early and Jake said it would be rude to not include her in the rehearsal dinner. Maggie did not want to start another fight about Tracey. When introduced, Tracey smiled sweetly at Maggie though there was something strange in her eyes. She was too eager and her red dress was too tight, too revealing for Maggie's taste. Jake seemed to ignore Tracey, which pleased Maggie even as he became noticeably more drunk and inappropriate as the night progressed.

It was nearly midnight and they were cleaning up when they heard a loud crash from the bathroom. The remaining guests – Maggie's mom and sister, Jake's aunt and uncle and teenage cousin – looked at each other quizzically. Jake appeared suddenly and said he was going off to bed. He kissed Maggie on the cheek. A few minutes later, a voice called out in distress, “Oh shit.” Everyone hurried over to the bathroom. Jake's uncle turned at the locked knob.

“Is everything okay?” Jake's uncle asked through the door.

“It's fine,” a woman called back, “I just dropped my bag.”

“Bag of rocks?” Jake's cousin mumbled under her breath so only Maggie could hear.

Tracey squeezed out of the bathroom door with her back to them and shut it tightly behind her. Maggie noticed her lipstick was smeared and her previously perfect hair stuck up in the back.

“I better be going,” Tracey said without making eye contact, rushing out of the house.

The next morning, Maggie needed to use the downstairs bathroom to finish getting ready for her wedding and to get some space from her nervous mother. She found Jake kneeling, picking up the pieces of the white ceramic tank lid smashed across the tile floor. “What happened?” she asked, even as the answer came to her, even as her stomach began to sink lower into her abdomen.

Jake's eyes veered to the left, “I knocked it off, last night, when I was drunk.”

Maggie's heart fell into the churning pit where her stomach had been. Her wedding gown fell in a pile at her feet. She ran out crying wearing nothing but her slip. She passed Tracey on her way. She cried harder at the sight of her, dolled up all in white.

***

Before by Lyle

Several times, in the dark, I stumbled upon the corpse. Broken. Or unfinished. This was all before. There wasn't really a corpse. Just the existential heft of my imagination. Solipsism slipped down around my neck like a noose. And all the while my socks, elastic gone, sagged around my ankles. This was all before the breaking.

***

Scare by Forrest

I knew him before I knew him—and the heat of it dragging sloping upside against the door and pushing me inside knocking the top and hearing the porcelin crack which it does a dull cold ripping not at all like his voice and scared for us: he knew me before he never knew me.