I broke your bowl (Flash Fiction)

I broke your bowl.

I had stormed out, and you watched me go. You knew I was storming out. Did you understand why? Did you see me clutching to the roots of my hair as I did so, tugging on them as hard as I could while still keeping my neck strong? Perhaps you didn’t.

You didn’t come.

I went upstairs into our room, clawing at my skin, clawing at my face, feeling the skin collect under my nails, and crying, heaving, hyperventilating, trying to catch my breath.

You didn’t come.

I listened, heard you make your way toward the stairs. I thought thank God. He can calm me. He can hug me and squeeze this overwhelming anxiety away, and sooth me. Hold my hands as my fingers curled, ready to tear away more skin.

I heard you stop in the kitchen and pour yourself a bowl of cereal. You weren’t coming.

I froze, in somewhat disbelief. You weren’t coming. The sound of movement from below continued – you weren’t making your way towards the stairs. You were retreating, going back to the cave. I began sobbing harder, let down by the opportunity of help. Then music began.

I felt stupid. Silly. Why would you come? You had been trying to help me, trying to make the situation right. In your mind, you were doing the good thing.

All I heard were the you, you YOU’s. Yes. Me, me, ME. It was all my doing. Unemployed, unable to pay bills. For some reason being extra audited in my attempt for food assistance. I was the one whose anxiety had been climbing. We couldn’t go – I couldn’t go to the show. I can’t afford it. Yes, it’s me. I was being unreasonable. Then came more you’s. I couldn’t handle it. I ran away. Ran upstairs to my safe spot. Our safe spot. The place we are supposed to go when we’re ready to talk.

The attack rolled over me, and as the music played I felt stupid, selfish, childish.

“You stupid cunt!” I hissed at myself as my hands flapped against my face, my forehead. I ripped my trouser leg up and began clawing at my leg, drawing blood. “Don’t be so fucking stupid!”

I lost my breath again, struggling to get it back through the sobs. The self-loathing pummeling me, beating at me and growing with each strike. With each rhythmic thump of his music through the floorboards, I became more bitter.

Eventually it stopped. I could hear you getting ready. We needed to go soon. You came up stairs, you told me so. I said I couldn’t afford it. You provided options, but in the end, I just didn’t have the funds.

A small hug, a hug not nearly tight enough to squeeze it all out, and off you went.

You left. You left without me. You saw the tears, you surely could sense my sickness, and you left.

I crept out of the room, in disbelief that you could leave me in such a broken state. Downstairs, all the cupboards in the kitchen were open. I moved to close them, but before I knew it, I was screaming at them. “Why the fuck won’t you stay shut!” I kicked them closed, slamming them as hard as I could, another one would pop open. I would attack it. They all would bounce slightly ajar with each violent attempt to close them. I left the kitchen, into the living room.

The laundry basket on the couch. In my fit I threw it across the room, inwardly begging for it to shatter, though it landed softly.

I began screaming nonsense at the basked, ending with “You stupid basket!” A new fit of rage crashed into me as I realized how ridiculous I sounded, and I let out a roar that would have put metal bands to shame.

A broom leaned against another chair, and had done so for days. “What the fuck are you still doing here?!” I screamed at it. I threw it like a javelin, as hard as I could into the corner of a door way. The broom separated from the handle. I noticed a pile of clothes next to our traveling backpack and became enraged that it was just sitting there, when before it had been in the back pack itself.

“Why are you just sitting here? Get the fuck out of here!” I threw the clothes with dissatisfaction, and then threw the backpack.

Again, I realized how crazy I sounded, screaming at inanimate objects, blaming them for existing where I didn’t want them. I was on my knees, rocking back and forth sobbing at the ground.

You left me. You left without me. You left me in this state.

I began sobbing harder. How could you have left me like this? We are supposed to be lovers. How were you blind to my state?

I gathered my strength and stood. My cat, who had been cozily sitting by the heater had disappeared for cover from the mad woman.

And there it was. Sitting on the table, as it had been for days. Your bowl. It was plastic. I hated it. What grown man has plastic dishes? I had always hated it. And there it had sat, mocking me for days.

Calmly I picked it up, I took it outside. The air was surprisingly warm, and the sun was shining. I could hear the ducks in the flooded field across from us, squeaking and ducking about. I looked from side to side. No one was around. I wanted to see it smash. Being plastic, I knew it wouldn’t. But I wanted to see it smash.

I threw it as hard as I could against the porch.

And there. It was there that I got my satisfaction. It smashed into a dozen small pieces, down the steps, into the yard, and across the deck itself.

My aggression was gone. A calm took hold of me. I closed the door behind me, stepping out into the sun, and retrieved the pieces. The wood of the decking was warm under my bare feet. It felt good, like spring had finally arrived. I stepped into the squishy mud of the yard, carrying the pieces to the recycle bin. I checked the mail, which was empty, and waded back to the deck, the mud going between my toes.

I sat in the chair, breathing in the smell of the country. It was done.

I’m sorry I broke your bowl.


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