Shards of Glass 

FEU Advocate
July 05, 2023 06:59

By Nathalie Melanio

Once, I believed I could be anyone I pleased. Shards of glass scattered on the floor where my knees stooped bruised echoed the split images of my carte blanche. 

One of them sported a wrinkled shirt layered with an apron equally subjected to impurities seen through a huge blot of parched sepia among what little pristine was left. With my chin tucked in my notch, I stood upright as I drowned in the brusque ebb and flow of the customer’s voice, a cup of a half-empty iced Americano in their hand. Though bitter utterances were spat from lips not my own, it was still mine to swallow. I nodded and mustered a smile, providing them the assurance of fixing their drink. After all, “customers are always right.” 

Sometimes, I am a doctor, glued fascinated to the idea of saving everyone. Hanging around my neck were two strings typically in my ears, with a small disk-shaped resonator serving as my badge of honor. Circling my wrist was an indicator of life, death, and everything in between. And on my sleeves lies the muscular organ wrenched painfully from my chest, readily made available as a donor to anyone who needed it—I know I didn’t. What keeps me alive are beats from the hearts of my patients—a wanderer whom I was bound to lose in one way or another; it was only a matter of “when”. 

On most days, I am an architect, building homes out of people, for the reality I live in is far too crude—a desolate place where shabby wooden doors creak open and windows puke splinters at the slightest tugs of the wind. Drilled on walls are nanoscopic holes, serving as passageways for heavens’ prying orbs. Perhaps it has something to do with my attitude towards privacy, the lack of security, or my skyscraping pride, that even within my humble abode, I refused to let my facade slip. 

Yet tonight, the usual pin-drop silence I’ve grown accustomed to was shattered by an ear-splitting scream.

Horror-stricken eyes emerge through the looking glass. Razor-sharp nails dig deep into my face, prickling my skin ‘til blood oozes out, bringing ‘round a grim realization that it was my own voice filling the silence. 

I scramble to my cold feet as these trembling hands reassemble my dismembered body. 

Once, I believed I could be anyone I pleased, yet the ugly truth creeps through the cracks of the poorly sewn shards of glass, and what stares back at me is merely a phantom of who I want to be;

To myself, I’ve become estranged.