Northwords Now

New writing, fresh from Scotland and the wider North
Sgrìobhadh ùr à Alba agus an Àird a Tuath Twitter Facebook Search

The Cracking of Glass

by Ellen Forkin

I swipe a hand over the kitchen table. Still, the bird droppings stay. My hand is nothing but shadows and light. I pace, silently, no little huffs of breath. I press my hand to the windowpane, mouldering to green and black. It does not shatter. Start smaller. I notice her then, outside my house. A click and a flash. She walks away, with a tiny image of my house, grey upon grey. I pace. Stop at the butter dish, white spattered. Press hard. With a crack, it splinters, capturing the weak sunlight in the new-cut glass.
Photograph after photograph, she captures the house. She does not come at night. Or in storms. Only in gentle sunlight, not too bright. I wait for her, pacing.
A click and a flash. She shoves open my crumbling half a door. I leave the window. Swipe a nervous hand over the table. She doesn't see the shadows and light. Just shivers. Eyes wide in the gloom, peering through thick glasses. She aims at the piano, sagging with rot, while I find the hurricane lamp. The noise of it shattering makes her jolt. She scurries away like the rats and mice. They scent everything sharp and sour. Her perfume lingers, a flowery stickiness in the air.
The window has a crack, slowly done. It does not smash. I thump my hand on the windowsill. The rabbits outside dart underground.
She is crouched low, fascinated with the lichen, rust and mildew of the fireplace. A click. A flash. I bend over her, press a finger to the curved glass in its tortoiseshell frame. It shatters, a tinkering sound. She stumbles back, clutching her eye. Bolts out of the half-door, broken glasses bouncing on her nose.
Her house looks warm, tidy and safe. I rest my forehead on her large, clean window. She's working on something. Photographs everywhere. Small, sharp scissors. I see my grey and crumbling house. Overlapping images. Until, in the green and black window, a smudge of an ear, a curve of a chin, two dark spots for eyes. A ghost of shadows and light. She covers her mouth. And I, with my cold, cold anger, I press hard. Her window cracks, loud. Glass confetti showers the photographs with new-cut sharpness. I step in.

Northwords Now acknowledges the vital support of Creative Scotland and Bòrd na Gàidhlig.
ISSN 1750-7928 - Print Design by Gustaf Eriksson - Website by Plexus Media