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Broken Glass

by Lesley Mace

She’d had the empty bottle since before she met Stephen: Smirnoff Vodka, Red Label. In the bright muddle of her book-strewn flat she’d saved loose change in it.

Now they were married it had a different purpose: she kept her anger in it.

“Books belong on shelves,” he said.
“That skirt’s too conspicuous,” he said.
“Children? Not yet,” he said.

As a child her anger had been discouraged.

“Behave yourself,” they said.
“Don’t you scream at me,” they said.
“Go to your room,” they said.

Stephen thinned his lips and punished her with silence if she ‘talked back’.

In its hiding-place under the sink, the bottle received the fury of her retorts for three years; her writing gouged onto paper slips that were mashed into tiny balls and posted into its tight mouth.

There were two litres of anger in the bottle when she smashed it on the worktop and attacked him with the jagged end. His blood dripped onto broken glass.

“I’m sorry,” she said.

Copyright © 2007 by Lesley Mace

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