You’re like a piece of fine china stuck in the sole of my foot.
It’s not your fault you’re stuck in me, and while you certainly give me no help as I struggle to pull you out, you really are powerless to change the situation. You simply are what you are. You were only lying in my path because someone had already broken what you once were and left you, the only surviving fragment, forgotten on the sidewalk. I’m quite sure the rest of you became mere dust, swept away by the summer breeze long before I entered into your existence.
As I try to remove you, I realize I’ve never seen a pattern quite like yours before. You are just large enough and intact enough that I can clearly see the intricate swirls that seem so lonely now that they have been broken off from the rest of the pattern. You are obviously meant to be a part of something larger. Somehow the wind and the weather have not faded your vibrant colors, and against my pale nakedness your reds, greens, and blues take on new life. You are exquisite.
As I gaze at you the wind grows louder and the birds begin to sing in tune. It seems to me that your beauty, even in this broken, abandoned state, is enough to inspire the world. All you need is for someone to notice you. Appreciate you. And in your beauty you posses a power I know I’ll never have; to startle the world with the music of your lines, your colors, your contrasts.
The longer I stare at you, though, the more you slowly sink into my flesh. I’m losing sight of your edges and I know it will be nearly impossible to pull you out without bleeding all over the sidewalk and leaving a significant scar. The pain in my foot grows increasingly insistent. I must act.
Do I yank as hard and fast as possible? Do I tease you out, bit by bit? Do I hunt in my purse for a pair of tweezers and pray you don’t break off inside my foot? Will I have to ask a doctor’s help to completely extract you? Are you large enough that I will require stitches? What if I develop an infection? How long will it be till I can walk without limping? Will my blood stain my favorite shoes? For that matter, will my blood stain you?
My stomach is turning. My head is spinning. My fingers are shaking. I feel feverish; I am hot and cold in waves. It grows worse every time I look at you. I have been losing blood this whole time and somehow didn’t notice and when I finally check the time I realize I’ve been sitting on this sidewalk for three entire years.
When I have the strength I will steady my hands, gently grasp your rough edge, and slowly drag you out from me. I will wipe you clean and place you tenderly on the edge of the sidewalk, where observant passerby will be able to appreciate you without injury. Perhaps one of them will know what you are, where you came from, what to do with you. I hope someone willl scoop you up before you wait here too long.
I will call a friend to bring me home, I will clean the wound, and I will, eventualy stop bleeding. I will take it slowly for a while; no heels, no dancing, cooking dinner sitting down. I will heal.