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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Love (04/27/06)

TITLE: A Sliver of Glass
By Julie Michaelson


A Sliver of Glass

The blood was a deep, bright red. It oozed from the opening in my right thumb. It was almost as deep as the pain that escaped
my throat. Quickly, I grabbed a fistful of my t-shirt, and
grasped it harshly about my throbbing finger. I gritted my teeth,
and my eyes closed in a tearful squint. For a moment, the midnight
blue of the sky spun. Nausea welled in my empty stomach.
But, the January air had a merciful chilling crispness. Gratefully, I sucked in a lungful of cold, night breeze. I sunk down to the
grassy curb, and put my head between my knees. The beating of
my crushed heart gradually simmered, and I was able to suck in
another cold, deep breath.
The blood was slowing down, now, but my thumb continued to
throb. The throbbing mirrored my pulse. It mirrored my sobbing
heart. The sob broke loose, and I cried aloud.
Again, I sank my head between my knees. Had someone
heard me? Anxiously, I looked up, and surveyed, wide-eyed, the
lonely street. A sudden wind smacked the side of my face. It
combed unwashed strands of hair against my wet eyelashes, and
softly open lips.
Impatiently, I brushed the strands away. As I lifted my right
hand, the t-shirt slipped off, and the bleeding started up, again.
Cursing, I wadded up the stained material, and grabbed the thumb,
once more.
But, I still sat, hunchbacked, on the dead winter grass. From
down the street, I could smell other people's garbage. What time
was it? Very dimly, on the far eastern edge of the cold sky, a
tiny thread of pink was visible.
The moment of nausea had passed. Gradually, painfully, I
pushed my achy plumpness away from the curb, and stood up.
For a second, I swayed, and almost hit my palm on the same
glass filled lawn bag.
The awareness of it pinched me awake. I sighed, and surveyed my thumb. I shrugged, and sucked on it. I guess I would live.
The pink line was now spreading across an opening sky. The
midnight blue no longer was so intense. Stars, bright and visible,
just moments ago, were now fading, and losing their brilliance.
It was time to go in, and face the empty house.
I swept itchy, tired eyelids down to the trash bags, and
along the lightening street. For a moment, I longed to drag them
back up the driveway. But, I was just too exhausted. And,
besides, very softly in the distance, I could hear the familiar
sound of garbage trucks squeaking and heaving. It was familiar,
oddly comforting.
I turned back up the drive. A surprising flood of relief came
over my heavy shoulders. Sucking at my thumb again, I pondered
at the sheer number of bags along the sidewalk.
Had there really been that many pictures? It seemed
unbelievable, but, there they were, all twenty-five years of them,
some stuck inevitably to bits and pieces of broken glass. Broken
picture frames, of a severed marriage, were now awaiting their
demise. They just needed to be picked up.
What about me? Who was going to pick me up off the curb?
Who was going to sweep up all the glassy slivers of my heart, and
put them together, again? Who could keep my wounds from
opening back up, like the swollen edges of my thumb?
I could still taste the metal flavor of blood in my mouth.
I rested my hot forehead against the cool metal of the
door jam. It felt good, and gently I moved it back and forth,
back and forth. Nearby, from inside a thorny shrub, a bird
chirped. It was a sleepy chirp. Did God have His finger of
wakening even on that tiny bird? It just didn't seem possible.
All of a sudden, the bird darted out of the thorny bush.
And, it didn't stop flying. It just kept going, away, towards the
breadth of a dawning sky. And, it was quite lovely in all of its
Why couldn't humans be graceful like that, instead of hurting
themselves on broken pieces of love, and sharp slivers of glass?
The other question I had, was, where were all the
If God was going to let us hurt ourselves, the least He could
do was help us remember where we put the Band-Aids.
Maybe, in time, He could find one, just big enough for my heart.

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This article has been read 1178 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 05/05/06
Oh, how I love the image of that little bird inside the thorns! And you encourage your reader to make the further connection with the shards of glass, but every so subtlely. Well done!
Jan Kamp05/07/06
Great descriptions all the way through. So real and full of feeling. Loved the style and the piece From a purely practical view, I totally missed that great part about the bird because I'm not a word-for-word reader and there is no distinct definition of paragraphs. Double-spacing between them makes for an easier read for us "scanners".
Phyllis Inniss05/08/06
I agree with both Jans. Well written with imagery that mirrors your emotional state. A truly beautiful piece.
Dr. Sharon Schuetz05/09/06
Super writing. I could feel your character's emotion. I also loved the last sentence about the bandaid for the heart.
Rachel Rudd 05/10/06
The pain portrayed her is so vivid. I have a friend who is going through a divorce now. It is so painful.
Thank you for sharing this well-written story.
Brandi Roberts05/11/06
Your writing is very similar to a friend of mine... her work is awesome, and so is yours. Just some spacing and it would be perfect! You're very good with descriptions!

Oh, and did I mention that the two of you (you and my friend) have ALMOST the same last name? How cool is that??