Sparking a Sneeze by Gill Hoffs

I asked her about it in the schoolyard, the rough white bandage covering the accident of her marriage, tapes cordoning off the scene of the crime. Two fingers held together, for better or worse, for sickness, for poorer, for a few weeks more at least. Our children bouncing into the school, us hoping they wouldn't get married, wouldn't feel torn. Torn up inside, torn between decisions, torn between self and other.

She told me my brother was having a tough time. Under stress. Beside himself. Over it now.

Anywhere but in the right, but as good as with her denials. Her flesh was making her aware of its presence, and I could tell she knew she had bones. Well, I did too, and I flexed them, thinking.

He said of the argument; this is the grit that seeds the pearl. Or, I thought wryly, the dust that sparks a sneeze.

Standing, I pulled tissues from the box, one following the other, as had the blows, Rorschach
blotting soft paper in crimson blooms, remembrance poppies of what he, and I, had done, telling me it
was alright. He was done.

Now I would need the bandage.

And he could wince, and pack, and go.

2011 -Hoffs

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