The tall white square jar was going to lose what little precarious hold it had on the wooden table at any moment. Gravity bound, I could imagine it toppling, incrementally, from the tip of the sharp, jutting corners- a suicide attempt that showers a shatter of honey and porcelain across the slate. I would watch it spread, a home ware’s blood oozing across the floor, and sit there with an unmoving face while the little porcelain soul went wherever the souls of jars go, and then I would find a stick of chalk- white and brittle bone- to trace a blocky outline around the shattered corpse.
Afterward I would try to scrub and scrub and scrub the hard ground so no sweet scent was left, no lingering moment of death and inevitability tumbling me forwards past reason and drama that I couldn’t handle anymore.
The jar sat on the edge of the table and I imagined the arc it would fall if I swept my too still hand across the table top, suddenly, blurred, violent, and murdered the silent little thing before it had a chance. The thin shell would crack like eggshells, tiny shards brittle little crunches underfoot as I walk past the thick golden innards that cover my kitchen floor, out of the house, get in my car and leave this life behind, far away and in the past forever.
“Maria?” I heard Ash call. I hadn’t heard the door open, hadn’t heard the car pull up- but her voice, that I’d never mistake.
“I’m here,” I tried to call out. My mouth couldn’t move, however, and the jar filled my vision with its pored surface.
“Maria.” Ash entered the kitchen, her long brown hair tied up into a tail, her eyes so sad. “You’ve cut yourself.”
Somehow, from deep inside myself, I found the strength to talk. “No. Braid died. I hit him.” Ash was silent, staring. Her right hand clenched painfully on her thick leather belt, and I saw the colour drain from her face.
“What do you mean, you hit him.”
“It was an accident. I- I thought he was inside. In the bed, he’s always in the bed. But-”
“Oh, Maria.” I realised I was crying.
* * *
By Danielle K. Day