if she’s not broken
(originally posted 5/5/2021)
Her family’s presence in her life ebbs and flows. Not on the scale of an ocean or even a lake, more like a stream that winds around a small hill. A little inclement weather and it gets to ebbing and flowing and swelling like a bruise.
Everyone else has a short shelf life. Everyone she’s ever known. I mean eeeeeeeveryone.
Friends, acquaintances and colleagues come and go. Boyfriends come and go. Each of them shed like a skin. Sloughed off. Left behind like a suitcase filled with clothes she knows she’ll never wear again.
I was among the discarded. Left feeling like an Indian rain dancer whose dance gets rained out.
Perhaps it was because she came from a broken home that I even paid attention to her in the first place. A practitioner of Kintsugi (golden joinery), the Japanese art of putting broken pottery back together with lacquer mixed with powdered gold, I initially found her in pieces. Kintsugi believes that by embracing flaws and imperfections you can create an even stronger, more beautiful piece of art. Treating the breakage and repair as simply part of the history of the object.
So I imagined what she could look like repaired and fell hard.
I tried to teach her Kintsugi but she enjoyed smashing the vases too much to even try and put them back together. The look in her eye as vase after vase met an untimely demise was both exhilarating and terrifying.
At one point she said our relationship was a “gift.” Sometime later she called it “unhealthy.”
Strange considering that she is convinced that a ghost in her house leaves her gifts… which seems on the face of it unhealthy.
I thought I would try and bring order to her chaos, but found I enjoyed the chaos too much. I tried to fix her like a piece of pottery but ended up gluing my fingers together instead. I found I was content sitting amongst all the fragments.
I saw who she was and I saw who she was becoming and I saw who she could have been and how different all of these people were. How much of it was real and how much was just inside my head is anyone’s guess.
She was never a mirror, there’s no Japanese art of fixing those, perhaps that’s why I didn’t see where we were headed. The inevitability of it all. I knew all about her other friends and lovers, but we all think we can change people.
We can’t. We can’t fix them because sometimes they are happier broken. Eventually she left to find some new rain dancer to break.
Of course, all this is coming from the guy held together by lacquer.
“The scars are the design. Your attention is drawn to the cracks and how they are mended. That is what you’re supposed to see. The beauty is in the brokenness.”
-Justin Whitmel Earley