A pin falling from the sky hits me in the chest, and like I was a balloon, explodes the membrane of my skin—excited neurons return to space like streamers of gas pulling the bits of me from my form. But it wasn't the heavens that split me. The source is a particular thing. It hits at an angle so slight, so perfect, so aligned, and so wrong, that it unlocks the pieces. What was seamless separates, stretches out, and tilts away just enough for a rush of air to fill tiny fissures and shadows to appear between parts.

Glass breaking transmits a sympathetic shiver. It makes one wonder what those pieces are, that the hard liquid of the crystal gave no hint of prior. The sounds of breaking interrupt the music of life and divide its flow into discrete bars. There are shards only afterwards.

In the moment of rupture all I feel is the ache of it–surprise at the tears welling up. Hallucinating, I looked as his smile and was sure that it would melt me in the crisis of its gentle curve. I forgot about the rest. Shadows cowered at the edges of the universe.

Whole I am nothing, alone; smashed I am together with ...