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.