I went searching under beds in the mid-morning light. There was a piece of me somewhere beneath these creaking mattresses. For reasons unknown I'd splintered into a thousand pieces when the golden sunlight first touched our horizon. It had been painless, instantaneous. Great glittering bits of me were held suspended in the air. Reflecting, catching, refracting the suns beams into rainbows as they gently spun. We walked the brightening streets, our boots echoing across the cobble stones. Your arms filled with old secrets and other loves and long forgotten dreams in blue and green. I'd stopped crying when we'd found that memory of my mothers funeral. You're the only one who really understood, I think. All those jokes I told at the funeral. Dressed the part of the grown woman in my little black dress and cheap heels. The streets were awash with gold light and you were growing restless. Just one more. We'll go to the beach after we find it. We'll piece me together on the sand near the sea, beneath the open and endless sky. I lay on my stomach, fingers quivering in the dark space beneath the bed. It was down here somewhere, I was strangely certain. You tap your foot anxious to be done with this. You'd been quiet throughout the search. Almost disapproving of my frantic need to find myself. Perhaps it was because we'd lost you ages ago. You'd simply sailed off one evening, never to be found again. You claim you're happier this way, without the old grudges and those heavy uncertainties. But I think you might be jealous. Funny how clearly I see you now. Your image sharper in my minds eye than ever before. I love you still, no need to worry on that account.
This is the last piece I say as I close my fingers around it, jagged black insecurity, and drag it through the dust. It cuts into my palm as I hold it tighter and I leave little trails of red on the floor. You snatch it away and tuck it into your pocket where it can't do anymore damage. We leave the dusty room behind and stride boldly into the streets, bravely displaying my fragments in our arms. I am naked before all the world and somehow it doesn't matter. Some pieces of my fancy refuse to be held down, so we tie them to kite strings and drag them behind us. Lilac luminance trailing just behind our shadows which have grown long in the fading afternoon. Children point and stare and mothers shy them away, it's not polite to gawk at the broken, their leaden whispers dropping to the stones at their feet. They bounce and roll and crash into my leather soles. We trip over these spherical whispers the whole way to the shore. My fragments are growing heavy, and you readjust their weight in your arms. They slide and grate against one another, rattle and sing like those brilliant, tiny chimes I'm still so fond of. When at last we view the ocean, gleaming bright in the slowly dying light, I tug the kite-strings. The childish bits of me bob and weave, sail higher on the salty breezes and reflect laughter on their shimmering surfaces. I smile. You drop, cross-legged into the sand, and spread the splinters of my personality like ragged patches from an old quilt. We reel in my fancies and weigh them down with stones and sand. They wriggle and writhe, some so violently that they form little cracks. Eventually they cease their struggles. I imagine them heaving inaudible sighs of resignation. For a few minutes we stare awkwardly at this strange array of memory and emotion. This is all of me, of that I am certain. And yet it seems as though I am missing something. The edges look like they won't quite fit together. We slide them around as best we can, given the buoyant natures of a few, trying to get a feel for the puzzle. Nothing really fits. I'm guided by vague notions of what went where and you are utterly lost. We lapse into an uneasy silence, and I gaze into the waves.
How do we join the pieces, you wonder, staring at things I've kept hidden for years. Only I don't mind anymore because now they're removed from me. We try sewing them with a needle and a spool of white thread (they were in my purse, I'm not sure why, do I like sewing? I've forgotten) but that fails. All it accomplishes is poking tiny holes where algebra and lunch tables used to reside. I start to worry as the colors start to fade. You tell me it's nothing, no real damage is being done. I continue to worry, quietly now as you vainly try to pull me together. We haven't got any glue. Your brows furrow together as you reach into your pocket, searching carefully for that last piece we'd found. With obvious displeasure you drop it atop the others. It quivers, liquifies and seeps through the cracks. It seals tight the fissures, pulls all my fragments together into a shimmering net. My breath catches in my throat and for a long while, I simply stare. I lift it with the utmost care, then hold it against the last rays of light, watching memory, life move silently and swiftly beneath it. You remain silent, observing me as I familiarize with myself again. I let it drop slowly over my head and as it touches my face, as it absorbs into my flesh it comes rushing back. Snaking down my throat and filling my gut, taking residence in some deep recess of my psyche. The self-loathing, the misery. The unspent anger. How long I've been trying to start over and have been held back by this thought and that time. That heavy doubt that kept my feet dragging against the pavement. How much I despise all that dead weight. I cast it from me, ripping what little had sunk in loose like feathery thorns. I gather up its shining mass in my hands, careful not to let any seep in, and throw it out over the great, rippling sea. It drifts listlessly in the air, all that I was, the concepts, the memories, the visions and dreams. Then that dark, aching doubt drags it downward until it rests upon the tides. You are mute beside me, watching my self sink beneath the murky waters, dissolving in them before our eyes. And just like that I am free. You take my hand and pull me down the silent streets, kicking aside the aging whispers as you go. My feet hardly touch the ground. I am weightless as the night rushes in around us.