A week later, B. stopped by as if nothing had happened. A. tried to act unfazed as well, but she was confused and angry. They fought over something silly. The conversation was heated, and somehow, either as an act of thoughtlessness, or anger, or the thoughtlessness that anger engenders, the jar of shards came crashing down from its shelf. No one remembers who broke it. The marbles scattered the quickest, fleeing beneath furniture and into dusty corners. The shards themselves spread out like a rippled puddle, like water molecules clinging desperately to each other while simultaneously giving the surface impression of splitting apart. A. looked at B., silently begging for help. B. looked at the shards on the floor, the new shards of the broken jar combined. His brow furrowed. He looked as if he had just swallowed his soul. Without a word, he turned and, for the last time, left.
Weeks later, A. has still not cleaned up the glass. She wears shoes around the house. B. has not called, not come around at all. She spends a few hours every evening sitting on the floor, picking through the broken glass, trying to divide the collection from the container, the beauty from the pain. It seems an impossible task. She has cuts on all of her fingers and a few on her palms. Sometimes, she just rolls a marble around. Often she fantasizes that B. will call and ask her what she's doing. She'll tell him and he will come right over and sit with her on the floor and sort through this wreckage. Deep down, she knows that if she did tell him, he'd just respond with some platitude about "moving on." So she doesn't call. Instead, she dreams about a handsome stranger arriving at her door in need of the salvation only she can offer. He has nothing to exchange for this saving grace but three things: a broom, a dustpan, and a box of Band-Aids.