When I was very young, I had this porcelain horse. It was big and painted with cotton candy colors and it had a white body that was smooth from the glaze that was pleasant to my tiny fingers. I know this because it broke when my tiny hands dropped it, several times. I remember it breaking, just as much as I remember my mother using superglue to meticulously put it back together. I remember it- the small fissures, darker than the white, grayish but not horribly damaging to the satisfying aesthetic.
But the horse didn’t break once. It broke over and over. Eventually, the glue that dried three dimensionally mangled the body with mountains and valleys that shouldn’t have been there. It was no longer smooth. The pieces broke smaller and smaller each time and became difficult to find and hard to manipulate in my mother’s hands.
One day, the horse was gone. I didn’t even notice. It wasn’t worth the upkeep, my mother grew tired of the constant meddling, so it was “lost”.
This metaphor works for a few things.
- I am the horse. The broken, weakened, porcelain horse whose mother has had to repeatedly glue her back together. That morning after, when I woke up and saw the two people who had been so intentionally (seemingly) disrespectful, on MY couch, in MY house, passed out, limbs crisscrossed and alcohol still on their breath, I felt myself break. I shattered.I walked out of my house (without throwing water on them or keying Sara’s car which had been my roommate’s suggestion), and drove home. My dad was awake at 6 AM when I pulled in and I told him the story and he, half laughing and bemused, asked “She did it again?” (I’ll explain the “again” later- back to the metaphor).
- The horse is also a metaphor for our friendship. I struggled to ignore that it was becoming a hassle to keep up with. I pretended to ignore the missing piece, the chipped glaze, the shitty repair job. I told myself, “It’s still beautiful. It’s still important. It still works.” But this…this wasn’t a “dropped” horse situation. This was a toddler raising a hammer, making eye contact, and bringing that motherfucker down…then saying she didn’t mean too. I considered gluing it again. I extended the opportunity to “talk it out”, to give our 10 year friendship the chance to endure again. But when I came home later, after my mother hurled insults, my dad provided a stellar commentary…and even as the days waned on and my mother told me the overwhelming input from my former teachers (my mom works at my high school) was “again?”, even when my coworkers took up arms, when my roommate’s banned her from the house….even those were not the moments that I looked back and later thought “that’s when I decided not to fix it.”
When I came home at 5:00 PM on one of the most emotionally draining days of my life, the lights were off, no one was home and the only evidence that the night prior had happened was the un-fucking-folded blankets strewn across the couch.
Those motherfucking pricks.
They hadn’t even folded the goddamn blankets.
And that when I took a deep breath. I folded the blanket, grabbed the broom, and swept up the dust that was left of the porcelain horse.