I meet with my lawyer and she asks for a list of tangible things I could supply.
She asks, ‘Was anyone in the room when she threw the glass at you?’
‘No,’ I reply. ‘It was midnight.’
‘Do you have any scars from the boiling soup that hit you?’
I roll my sleeves up. ‘Like to show the jury?’
‘What about photos of bruises?’
‘Those I have,’ I yell enthusiastically!
My lawyer’s jaw drops and she serves several handclaps in my direction.
‘That’s excellent,’ she says. ‘Bruises, welts, proof, check!’
She says, ‘I want you to go back home and I want you to look around your apartment, feel your way around, smell your way around. Set the table for two and don’t check back until the morning. Who comes for dinner? What can you find? What’s left behind?’
Like a schoolgirl gone mad, I pencil down notes and think back to the days my father used to make me show him my report card. We work to be loved in this household.
The glass was the first thing I found circulating. When I say circulating I mean it covered a patch behind my bed and I kept it circulating by pressing my hand into the shards every so often then squeezing my fist until I bled from deep. I smeared the crimson remnants throughout the house. Mostly I leaned on the bathroom to collect any droppings. I didn’t even realize the glass was there until the morning light hit it just right.
Next my breakfasts, lunches, and dinners exclusively became dumpling soup. In the beginning I had purchased the soup through M Noodle. But once Riley taught me how to make pasta it was over for the entire Tri-State area. I stuffed my dumplings with pork, beef, vegetables, then made my way to lamb because it was the most supple and I found people liked devouring innocent things if it was seasoned just right. Riley of course was the first to taste and she said, ‘What the fuck, this is art.’ I leaned back and said, ‘Isn’t it?’ Then we made a plan. She suggested selling the dumplings at $9 a quart. If I made enough of a marketing plan, she said, I could recoup expenses to pay off that skin graft. ‘I don’t know,’ I said back to her. ‘I consider it a parting gift sometimes. Like look at this treasured thing that separates me from the rest. When things are that luxurious, you pay in installments.’ It’s miraculous the way you can shred pieces of yourself to prop up other pieces of yourself.
As for the bruises, sometimes I pinched myself so hard that they resurfaced. I didn’t want my lawyer to forget my story. I didn’t want your anger to be in vain. I thought, what kind of monster would let you go so easy?
The next time I see my lawyer I bring a bucket filled with glass. I bring photos printed out, glossed on 8 x 11. I bring her 10 quarts of my famous dumpling soup, pro-bono. She looks things over and coos. ‘It’s a start,’ she says fingering the glass until she too bleeds. ‘But we’ll need more.’