Shards Scattered Amongst the Scathed Wooden Flesh of the Floorboards

“You shouldn’t have pushed me.” And in a moment of passion, shards scattered amongst the scathed wooden flesh of the floorboards. The sharp, rigid edges of the broken Swarovski crystal glistened beneath the cold ambience of the kitchen light. It was no longer the round crystal globe of glycerin and white flakes he had gifted her on her birthday eight months ago. And in that moment of silence, Andrew gazed through the gaping opening of the globe where two small figures of Lily and him embraced – framed by the fragments that had not yet broken off from the base of the snowglobe. The pure white specs of artificial snow had been spilt – emptied out and flooding the floor like the tension in the kitchen.

“You shouldn’t have pushed me to this breaking point, “ he muttered, “It’s your fault that I’ve had enough of your incompetence.” Recently, broken glass had become the anthem of their household. Lily’s expression was indifferent as she silently peered at the remains of her globe encircling Andrew’s feet – unmoved by the loss. Strands of loose brunette hair sprouted from her greasy ponytail. She had already somehow retreated behind the kitchen bench. Only the hum of the secondhand refrigerator shook the unsettling quiet. An odd assortment of cups and unrinsed dishes had formed a mound within the hollow of the sink as grime encrusted the gaps between the stove and cupboards.

Lily’s grubby state had taken on the same unkempt state as the kitchen, as her unmanicured nails had been eaten away till they barely protected the skin of her finger tips, and yet, crumbs of dirt had still managed to wedge themselves beneath her short, stubby nails. “I’m sorry.” She murmured with a trembling voice – her frail state instilling some sort of mercy within Andrew’s tensed form. But was it enough? His hands and her cheeks were still flushed red from impact – adding a new tint to the yellowish-purple blotches that bruised her skin. However, Andrew’s emerging guilt from Lily’s apologetic words was merely transient as the urge began to gnaw at his nerves and limbs again. But before he could grasp her hand, Lily had slipped past the front door of their fibro granny-flat. “She called her Mother again…

She always rings her mother without telling me.” Andrew cursed under his breath, drawing the corner of the crooked curtain they had purchased from Kmart and butchered to fit the tiny window of their humble home. He missed his home in Auckland, where his meals awaited him at the kitchen of his mother’s six-bedroom house whenever he finished another League game. But now he stood, alone in a rotting Sefton granny-flat while his girlfriend of nine months sobbed about him to her mother outside their so-called ‘home’ characterised by neglect. She always cried these days. She always reminded him how worthless he was: that he was “jobless”, used “ADHD” as an excuse for his failures, “lazy and never around due to his gaming addiction.” “Broken glass. Your relationship is like broken glass: shattered, fragile, pieces of what once was beautiful.” Lily’s mother sighed, “… just like my relationship with your real father.” Lily articulated, returning her eyes to the looming maroon gate that seemed hidden amongst the stretch of metal fencing where their fibro granny-flat rested – isolated and unseen by passersby. She stays locked in her family’s rusted Toyota hatchback, replaying what happened on repeat, contemplating to go back, apologise first, and give in because she loves him. The June breeze slithered beneath the folds of her parka as Lily huddled her neck between her shoulders and shut the front passenger door of her family’s Toyota, disappearing behind the red gate of their fibro home. “I know that in the moment you were reacting, locked down into your primitive brain, that when you come back to your senses, you are the one I love.” Lily spluttered, as the couple embraced in an uncanny resemblance to the snowglobe that remained scattered in sharp fragments on the floor. “You shouldn’t have pushed me. It was your fault after all, but I forgive you.” Andrew repeated. Tension fills the room as Lily and Andrew sit silently for dinner. The ceiling, the floor, every wall, coated in unspoken words. Her now faintly flushed cheek still present through the thick layer of makeup. Whilst in the midst of this, the only noise present was the slow chewing of their runny baked beans and the clicks and clacks of forks against their glass plates gifted from Andrew’s mother.

Lily stumbles, moving her clumsy body out of her chair, heading towards the kitchen. The shattering sound of her plate rivets throughout the hollow walls, it was the first sudden movement in a while. Silence followed like a hawk after. Her face etched with worry. She knows what’s coming. “Clean that up… always do this,” he murmurs ruggedly.

Purposely barging into her shoulder and leaving her to clean the mess up, yet again, because it was her ‘fault’. This daily occurrence, never ending, yearning for each other’s affection and when it did come it only made them yearn for it more. That’s what made them stay, it gave them hope. However, barriers were present, personalities clashing and tempers rising to their boiling point. At some point, staring had become their new form of communication as did the act of Lily apologising regularly because Adam had always justified his actions. This was routined for them now. No longer does Lily flinch, cry or yelp anymore. She was like a machine. A repeating cycle programmed to do whatever was inputted. Crumbling down like rust until one day it is completely thrown away. No use left in it. Her hope slowly diminishing from the constant accusation because it was her ‘fault’.