They were beautiful. My daughter knows how to pick the best bouquets. Different colors, some oddly petaled, and tiny fillers of all varieties tucked within, hiding behind folded leaves. But she always manages to include a few roses, my favorite. I mean, who doesn’t like roses? Little love letters on stems.
I knew exactly which vase I wanted for them. It had been my mother’s. It held so many flowers from her garden when I was a kid, I couldn’t begin to count them, even then. I plucked it from its dedicated space in the glass-front cabinet and set it gently on the counter. I wasn’t paying attention, a common fault of mine, and I whirled round to whisk the flowers to the sink. They just brushed against the vase. I helplessly watched it teeter there, and in a last-minute decision to reach out and steady it, instead I knocked it off onto the floor. Pieces of a prized possession everywhere. Just like that.
With tears welling up quickly, my daughter reminded me of Kintsukuroi, something she had spoken to me often about, the beauty of broken things. The vase could be repaired and still be lovely. But I didn’t have any gold. All I had was glue. It would have to be good enough. Even though it slowly regained its shape to dry overnight, it was no consolation knowing it would never be able to fulfill its purpose again, to simply hold water.
I got broken. I didn’t see it coming because once again, I wasn’t paying attention. Funny how that works.
It was my dream job at a technology company. A Cinderella story about a farm girl who worked her way up with only a high school education. This was to be the last wrung in my career and then I would retire and live happily ever after. We all know how happily ever after goes.
The position was high visibility, and the Sr. VP had his sites on me. It had superhero written all over it, if I could pull it off. Great for the ego. But I’d made a miscalculation. Nothing could have prepared me for the toll the stress would take on me. I looked down and pieces of my future were everywhere. Just like that. It ended June 4th 2018. I will never forget it, because I checked into an outpatient therapy program the same day.
I was going to have to rebuild. I could put myself back together. Still I knew I didn’t have any gold, I only had hope. It would have to be good enough, and it was. Though I will never fulfill the purpose I thought I would, I’m writing this from a desk that I haven’t set at for two years. I’m still the person I always was, but now I’ve gained a greater goal that I could’ve gotten no other way. To use the courage I found from breaking and rebuilding. I’m paying attention now.