Exercise 1 – The Reluctant I

It’s the broken flower pot that hits me the hardest.  Sitting on the thick, weed-devoid lawn, among the myriad of other items, its very appearance seeming sorrowful, petulant.  A mirror?  A representation?  Merely the mirage of a dry and deluded mind, searching for understanding?  A connection.  Whatever else it may be, it is that.  For there it sits, a little askance from the easy chair, behind the floor lamp, close to the bird bath.  Linked to the scene, but not really a part of it.  It doesn’t belong within the secure circle of these familiar comforts.  For it is not secure.  It is not comfortable.  And any familiarity it once held has morphed into something inarguably foreign with the cracks, the breaks that trace through its frame.

Water seeps out of the cracks, staining the orange-clay sides with moisture and dredges of potting soil.  Tainted tears.  There are no flowers left.  Any life that once bloomed in its confines have been leeched away with the spidery crevices that succumbed to pressures and widened into fissures that could no longer be ignored.  The split leads almost down the length of the side, chips and gouges marring the circumference of the lip.  Broken, but not completely destroyed.  Not whole, but neither completely shattered.  A part of what had been remains, but it will never be the same.  The damage cannot be undone, even if patched up, or hidden.  The weakness, the scars of the cracks will still remain.  Will always remain.

The rest of the items have lost all meaning, barricaded behind the safety glass of shock, suspended belief, willful disbelief.  The bed the moving men are hoisting to wrangle into the truck, one of them clenching his chin against the edge as though that will help steady it, the other backing up, crab-like into the dark belly of the vehicle.   The lawnmower, that so carefully manicured this yard two, sometimes three times a week in the summer.  The boxes labeled in thick, permanent marker with hastily scrawled words like books, kitchen, bathroom, clothes, tools.  None of them have any meaning.  Even the accidently cheery box, the smaller one that reads “wedding pictures” and is ironically followed with a wobbly smiley face, is too surreal to spark any feeling.

But the flower pot is real.  It understands.  It’s been there, too.  It was once happy, full of life and expectation.  But the harshness of reality crashed into it and left it a marred representation of what it once was.  These other items?  They still gleam with the reflections of a better time.  As though they are blissfully ignorant, they cling to the bygone, to what once was, trying to force the past onto the present and stretch it into the uncertain future.  Not so the flower pot.  The flower pot shows things as they really are.  The flower pot reveals its damaged nature, its vulnerability.

The crab-walking man walks over, nudges the flower pot with the tip of a boot.

“Hey, you want me to toss this for you?”

“No!” Panic.  “No, don’t throw it away.  Leave it for now.  Pack it last.  But it stays.  Or, goes.”  Does he not see it?  Can he not understand the importance, the significance, the absolute crucial weight of this item?  For the flower pot is the only thing that seems real anymore.  It is the only thing that sees, that feels, that knows, that understands, that relates. The flower pot must always remain because, at the deepest level, the flower pot is me.

– S.D. Bullard

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~ by sdbullard on April 16, 2012.

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