Pretty Changes by T. L. Sherwood

Pretty Changes

That night in June, we promised no more. I placed the shards of glass in a stray bucket and set it outside. I wanted to ask you when you calmed if it was garbage or recyclable. The next day, bon mot kisses and hung-over morning sex reminded me this may be as good as it gets and by the next afternoon, I took the bucket and placed it among the pines, in the spot where you said we’d store things to take out to the curb for spring cleanup. I looked forward to that ugliness being gone.

Our discards would be set out first, you said, and then we’d cruise through the neighborhoods looking at what other people were throwing away. That first year together, from a mildewy box on Main, we plucked out a broken-eared giraffe lamp – sans shade – as a prized possession. Mending that lamp together separated us from our pasts, where one violent fight often turned tragic and the “couple” we’d formed with others splintered into a broken set of two. Rewired with a white shade that I drew zebra stripes on, it cast a glow – a thrilling shine – our light over our shoulders when we read.

For years, that bucket of glass filled with rainwater and leaves. Forgotten over the winters, it froze, thawed, and cracked. Glass cascaded down. We left it there while other projects came up: mowing, remodeling, painting, melding our two sons into a family – there was so much to do to turn the house into ours. Whacking down weeds today, I found evidence of seeds we never knew. Growing among the pile of broken glass was wild dill, white violets, and a tiny maple tree, all crooked and askew.

 

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T. L. Sherwood is the Assistant Editor at r.kv.r.y. Quarterly Literary Journal and also works at Literary Orphans. Her blog is called “Creekside Reflections” and she is the 2015 winner of the Gover Prize.

 

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