I broke one of my mother’s prized jars last night. It just slipped from my hands, and headed to the floor, a thunderous crash followed by the cacophony of shattering glass. I stood there like a forgotten island in a sea of broken glass and fruit cubes. Before I could step out of it, before the anticipated crunch of glass against my heel, I found myself there, shattered glass, pieces of me, laying about, never to be whole again. And it reminded me of an English One essay. The instruction was,
If like Alice in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland you were asked the question ‘Who are you?’, what would you say?
I am a glass in a kitchen cupboard. When they take me down from the dark, musty shelf, I am filled with something I can never recognise. As soon as I am filled I am emptied. Then I’m scrubbed though and replaced in the cupboard. But there is always a remnant of the sometimes colourless, sometimes bubbly, sometimes sticky, sometimes bitter things they fill me with.
I am never able to make out what exactly I enclose. Away from me, their world is a helter-skelter staging of noise and bustle. Someone screams, someone cries, someone laughs, the television blares…I stand at their service.
They are all so different. The haggard, old woman bangs me when she is mad at the rest of the world. I have noticed them all being kind to her, but I cannot tell what she fills me with. When I am removed from the cupboard, I draw a blank to everything, even the old woman. Then, there is the smart, young man. He is new. He looks to my raising, swirling depths as though he expects whatever it is I am contained with to escape imminently. He never drinks whatever it is he fills me with. It’s strange. He fills me and then he allows his eyes to bore through me. I am transparent, surely, he too, is not at a loss about what I contain.
I am certain that they all know what they pour into me. They know what they gulp from me but they will never guess that every drop with which they fill me leaves a residue to which they are blind.
These parts, leftovers from greater wholes, which I cannot specify, are what add up to ‘me’.
I had to restrain myself from editing this, be kind in comment, it was English 101. What drew me to this, is the sense of continuity, or indeed, disparity, between the glass on the kitchen shelf and the sea of broken glass.