Broken Glass – Three Stories

“He just broke into that car.”

“Run after him,” I said. And with that, he was off, across the intersection, then across it again. The thief was trying just a little too hard to appear nonchalant, stolen computer bag slung across his shoulder, jauntily strutting down the nearly deserted street in the Financial District.

“Hey,” he shouted. The thief turned around, saw he was being chased, and began to run. “Hey!” he shouted again. “Drop the bag!” At which point the thief did, and continued running.

I caught up to him and we gathered the scattered contents. Laptop, camera, work papers, passport, id badge… We found a business card and called the number. It being after hours, his voice mail answered. I felt like the thief. “Hey, we’ve got your stuff. Call me.”

We walked back to the violated car, alarm still blaring. Broken glass graced the sidewalk. Shattered pieces, smooth small rounds. A mosaic of brokenness.

I had avoided unpacking the box for years. Not for any particular reason, just.

Shortly before I left my ex-husband my mother sent her punch bowl set to me, thinking I could use it for the many parties she knew we hosted. I left him; I left the box, still unpacked at our old house. He lived there for another four years; the box sat, unnoticed, unopened, in the basement. Until he sold the house. While packing, he noticed the unopened box addressed to me, from my mother. He gave it to a mutual friend. It sat in her basement for at least a year, until she remodeled her house. It then came to my apartment, my small apartment here in the city. And sat in a corner of my bedroom, serving as somewhat of a nightstand, for months.

Until this weekend. A friend suggested I have a punch bowl party, so I braved the box. I untaped it, and began unpacking the individually wrapped cups, each a different pattern. I unwrapped, I washed, I marveled. Such beautiful patterns. What parties had they seen? Cup after cup emerged from the box. I anticipated the parties I would have. And then. Then. The punch bowl. Shards of broken glass greeted me. The punch bowl was no more.

We were walking to the bus stop after a leisurely dinner. “Why are you kicking rocks at me?” he teased. “Me? You’re kicking rocks at me….” and we laughed. A few steps later I heard the cascade of glass beads striking the sidewalk. I stood, paralyzed. It was one of the few tokens I have of my grandmother. Her pink glass, double strand, uber funky, super retro necklace. Half of which was now rolling down Divisadero Street. All I could muster was an “Oh, nooooo.” He was already on his knees, searching for the beads; I was clutching my neck where the strand once lay.

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