#11 Brilliance

by Emma Clark

She is over forty, and perhaps forty pounds overweight. She has a dog, belongs to a book club and drives a late model Honda. She dates, but nothing serious, and likes merlot. And just beneath her skin she is covered by a network of cracks.

They began as stress fractures; the hairline fractures each of us will eventually develop under the increasing weight of the world. There were already some chips, minor cracks from childhood: the words that cut a little too deep, being chosen last every gym class.

The rejection letters from her first and second choice colleges cracked a rib. There was the date rape, which split her left tibia. She raised a tentative finger to the delicate orbital bone beneath her right eye when she was passed up for the promotion she’d expected. A bad breakup was followed by a worse marriage ending in the stillborn birth of her tiny daughter. Her mother’s disappointment in her. Her father’s cancer. A rude gesture on the road. The day she realized it was too late to live her dream.

If you were to look at her under x-ray you would see an extensive spiderweb of fractures. You would be amazed that she is alive. You would suspect that each morning she wakes up and consciously holds her pieces together.

Then she steps into the light and becomes a crystalline prism; those fractures and fissures become facets, bending the sun’s white rays into every color at a thousand angles.

9 comments:

DP said...

Beautiful imagery as always, Emma. The line, "The day she realized it was too late to live her dream," kills me.

Jade said...

A harsh itemization. I like that when she steps into the sunlight, she luminesces. Still more to say there I think.

Sam Knight said...

What an incredible visual representation of internal agony. I was imagining her making crackling sounds as she walked.

Anonymous said...

Win!

amessoffeathers said...

Thank you for your comments, everyone!

Rachel Green said...

What a marvellous picture of her.

Gita Smith said...

The story's underlying concept is really excellent. It's sort of an osteoporosis of the soul -- the cracks beneath that we can't see. Bravo.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Cracks viewed one way that are damaging and yet viewed another way create beauty. Well done. I love the imagery.

Jonathan Riley said...

So many great lines here that I can not pick a favorite. So I closed my eyes and pointed at the screene, opened my eyes and said yes that is the one. "And just beneath her skin she is covered by a network of cracks."

So good.
--Jonathan--