My childhood friend bought me a musical glass globe with a unicorn inside for my thirteenth birthday. I can’t describe how special this treasure was to me, because I knew that she had picked it out, and it suited me and my then unicorn collection perfectly. I couldn’t believe that it was all mine, something that wasn’t a toy, so I didn’t have to share it with others…Friends would come to my home and I would show it off to them proudly, and they just couldn’t find the same joy in it that I had, but I loved it so much. Eventually and for several years, it sat on the second shelf above my dresser mostly collecting dust. I’d occasionally swipe it with a dust cloth when I was cleaning my bedroom, taking a moment to look inside at the flakes of glitter that circled around the unicorn perched beneath a rainbow. It had kind of gotten old at this point, and for some reason the value was nearly lost to me, but still it sat on the shelf, right next to my jewelry box, right above some books…. a place holder , I guess. Sometimes it would play a few notes without anything even touching it, and I would get frustrated at it, intentionally ignoring a song that I used to love.
I had accidentally knocked it onto the floor several times and it would hit the carpet with a thud, but it was strong and faithful and never broke – my heart would pound with that little burst of anxiety you feel when your body responds to perceived disaster. I was always relieved to find that I had over-reacted, and it had fallen carefully.
Angry one day, I stormed to my bedroom and slammed the door. My precious unicorn globe fell off the shelf and hit my dresser and shattered into shards of glitter covered glass, soaking the floor in a heap.
Instantly I was angry to extremes of screaming. How the hell could it have made such a mistake and hit the dresser? It had never fallen straight down before, if it would have fallen to the side as it usually did, it would have landed on the carpet like always and I would have still had it. The stupid little globe betrayed me. I was so furious that I could have broken it myself if it weren’t already lying wrecked at my feet. The fact that the music still sang beautifully from the bottom of it didn’t come close to making up for the fact that it had ruined itself. I learned my lesson though, and I never put anything breakable on those upper shelves again – I simply didn’t trust anything up there. Along with extreme sadness came the regret that I hadn’t valued it the way I should have, I didn’t appreciate it the same way for so long, stupidly realizing what it had meant to me only after it had let me down. That part was definitely my fault. My dad said it could be mostly fixed, with a little super glue, but it would never hold water again, or be the same as it was before. I agreed that we would some day repair it, and still to this day it is broken in a box in the garage… I never got around to putting it back together, it would have never been perfect again, in my heart it was always going to be ruined.
While it seems so silly to compare a childhood gift to something so large as a marriage, I find myself doing just that, today – and while I usually don’t admit it, I often fight the urge to shove all of the shards of marital issues into a box in the garage knowing that no time in the world spent on this could ever make it the beautiful gift that it was before… I have never tried to put something so complicated back to it’s original form before – and I’m frustrated that even with the best superglue, this marriage is still going to have cracks… The break will always be there, and I’ll always be reminded of the time that it lied in the floor in a broken heap at my feet. Still I have to believe it’s worth it to tend to the tedious task of repairing it. I know what it meant to me at one time, and I can surely get past its mistakes. Maybe the cracks just give it character.