Fragment

I unlocked the door with my spare key. “Nora?”

“Fuck off.”

Undeterred, I continued into the apartment. The air was dry and smelled like sour dirt. Something cracked beneath my foot: a fragment of painted clay. They were everywhere, scattered among boxes, papers, scraps of plastic, piles of clothes and other debris. I didn’t stop to examine any of it on my way to the spare bedroom. “Nora?”

A growl.

A crash.

A stifled sob.

I found my sister at her worktable, surrounded by a stack of unpainted pottery and a sea of colored shards. “Fucked up glazes,” she said.

“Nora.”

“Ruined my brushes, but the new ones are shit too.” I trudged through the ruins of her grief to stand beside her. She reached for another pot and said, “Gotta keep working.” Then, moving with a manic fervor, she scooped up brushes, moved between different jars of glaze, dabbed, brushed, and swirled the colors, creating a masterpiece right before me.

A pause.

“FUCK!” She hurled the vessel at the wall, shattering the unfinished piece.

I put my arm around my sister, and she sagged into my supporting embrace. “It’s all fucked,” she lamented.

“I know, Nora. I’m so sorry.”

* * *

Story by Gregory M. Fox
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

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