Bits and Pieces: Reconstruction of Memory: Bea Gerber FINAL

There were pieces everywhere. Sharp, shattered, sparkling. The music masked the clatter, but only long enough to shield younger eyes. Sometimes it’s better to be left in the dark. The room filled in and flowed out, empty buckets, clanking trash bags, and soaked rags trickling with them. I am cold, but it was summer, and I had been warm only seconds before.

My happiness drained through my toes. The shouting was loud but I wasn’t listening, there were too many busy faces and furrowed brows to distract me.

I can’t believe he went straight through it. Destroyed the glass that separates children from adults, shattering a sense of innocence, bridging the gap. A conflicted frame of staggered edges. I heard, but I couldn’t see him. I searched for his tangled blonde mop in the crowd but he had already disappeared. The others whizzed around. Suds flew. Towels rolled. Bodies on autopilot. An organized frenzy. I couldn’t control the mess. It was going to last longer than the blood. My skin crawled.

He was rescued. Removed and absorbed by the bustling herd. No longer at stake. We picked his pieces off the floor, shard by shard, drip by drip. We removed the evidence of destruction, but a heaviness lingered on my chest. I hated that he put me in danger.

My time there had been long and short. Summers don’t last forever but they happen every year. Each time it feels like we never left our bubble of independence and responsibility. Our own heated snow globe full of children, held delicately in our palms. But his hand broke the glass. He shook too hard. Disturbed the comfortably settled dust. We let him. So we fixed it. Patched his hand and the door. Closed the young eyes. Shielded him by shielding ourselves. Everyone is affected by weak links.

Plastic protected my bitten fingers from the glass but I was still bare. At mercy of another; powerless to change his mistakes. The bass still bumped, matching my heart beat. I had to walk away. Find comfort in less danger, away from the shards, away from the glares. I wanted to be warm again. But that was too much to ask. I wasn’t protected anymore. But that is life. The fog lifts eventually. We have to grow up. If you don’t prepare for it, you will be left cold, shivering. It took too long for me to see this. Took shards covering the floor where children played. They would never know. They didn’t have to know. We glued their snow globe back together with our stories. We kept them warm.

Author's Note:

I took a lot of inspiration from Kesey because of the format of this assignment. I liked that there didn't need to be much context, so I could be as vague and sharp as I wanted because I didn't have to tie it back to a full story. I tried to take some of his stylistic elements: short sentences, blunt phrasing, reactions in the moment mixed with reflective ones, sharp scene changes. I wanted to confuse the reader by throwing them into something hectic. I also tried to humanize things to make them relatable, and I tried to use contrast with warm and cold like Atwood does to show how situations change from ideal to scary in seconds. I tried to give away as little as possible so that you would feel the emotions and the scene itself wouldn't really matter.

Artistic Piece:
I chose "The Babysitter" by Dar Williams because it is a song that is about childhood innocence and how it fails to see adult hardships at first, but is eventually faced with growing up. It follows the same emotional journey as my piece but with a little less intensity which I think is a good balance.