There are blank spots. Certainly I don’t remember everything. The memories I do have are sometimes murky, shadowed. And some are sharp as broken glass. The sharpest ones I live with, like I lived with the sliver of Coke bottle near my wrist for so many years; not visible, not painful, but just “there” where it shouldn’t be. Considering trying to get out.
One day, so many years a part of me, the sliver decided to leave my body, or at least begin to. Now that might have been a little painful. There was some swelling, and eventually, a bit of a point emerged. I think it freaked me out more than anything. Glass put there by an event so very long past, and now so unreal, I could not get comfortable with the hard evidence of what might otherwise seem easy to deny, or at least ignore, and pretend to forget.
The time came when the sliver protuded enough that it had to come out. I was able to extract it with tweezers, still imagining it might be something besides what it was. Glass. Glass that could only be there by the force that put it there.
The sliver was long, sharp, and clean as a whistle. I had perfect vision then and took a good long look at it. I marveled at the way it had suvived in my flesh in one piece for so many years, and at it’s size. Just huge. It was really impressive. I turned it over several times, pondered it’s origin, and then saved it somewhere now long lost to me. I know eventually I disposed of it. I knew it would be too ironic to find it poked into myself again by forgetting where I’d hidden it. Just because I needed to look at it for a while, didn’t mean I had a wish to hang onto it. So away it went.
A quart sized Coca Cola bottle; they used to make them that way; all glass, and heavy. The bottoms were thick.
I never saw it coming, and don’t remember raising my hand to my head to protect it, and yet I did just that. The part of my hand injured showed such. It didn’t happen some other way. But I never saw it and I never felt a thing. And then again, maybe the memory is just gone or never was there at all. Shock can make things that way.
Another sliver has considered now moving, perhaps is even ready for the tweezers. For all I know it has just passed clean out of me, I don’t really know. But for so long it was “just there”. If I ever spoke of it I did in monotone, matter of fact. I would at least register the look on another’s face and note either horror or disbelief and occasional simple confusion. I learned to say nothing. I suppose not everyone shrugs off the news that someone they know has survived a terror, and most don’t want to know. For most people, it’s only interesting in the movies.
I don’t remember everything. The memories I do have are sometimes murky, shadowed. And some are sharp as broken glass. The sharpest ones I live with, like I lived with the sliver. Not painful, just “there”. The murky ones, they’re the ones that bring the shadows. I didn’t think they had slivers, until now. I can’t see them when they come out, “long, sharp, and clean as a whistle.” But I feel them moving, emerging. Why does it sometimes take so long? When I no longer need to remember, why is it time now? Truly, I am okay. I don’t care if I ever remember more, and don’t really want to. If a sliver is fine where it is, why try to dig it out? I put myself through all that long ago, and finally understood that it’s okay if I can’t remember, it’s ok to live with a sliver. If the sliver’s a problem, it will let you know…and may just emerge on it’s own when it’s ready.
After all this time, I guess another piece of glass must leave me.