Let me put you back together

Each thick piece of cardboard is tiny between my fingertips. I smooth along the swelling edge, and curl out the scoop on the other side. On the front is an indistinct brown line with dark shading. I bite my lip and consult the lid. It could go here… my hand hovers in the bottom left corner before, triumphant, slotting it into place.

I am practically done. A dated picture of a grinning old man behind a grocery store counter beams up at me, sitting proudly next to a ration booklet. I stroke his face fondly.

At the moment though, he is not quite finished. He has two pieces missing, both skin coloured: one for the hand, the other for the cheek. He looks eerie, like a reflection in a mirror distorted and gaping, and I want to get him finished.

My hand reaches out and scrapes the bottom of the box and finds nothing. The pieces are gone.

For a moment, I stare down at this cheerful man with his honest smile and wide eyes. But then my gaze is drawn to those gaping holes, those roughly-hewn chunks torn from his face and body.

And I burst into tears.

 

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