Stained Glass / Jan Erskine-Power

I started with the rough design handed me by my parents. Straight lines from school to college to work and independence, easy to score and cut. Happiness and love were harder to define and shape, the heart consisting of curves and points. Wary of its fragility, I tried my best to be careful but couldn’t avoid breakages and shards that stung and scarred long after the piece was discarded.

Choices were wide and varied; the opalescence of the future, translucent, vivid rainbows of hope, iridescent sparkles of chance and the textured transparency of reality. The pieces didn’t always fit together snugly. Gaps, mistakes and stubborn attempts to not mirror my parents’ pattern triggered adjustments.

You focussed my goals, made my scoring stronger and more effective, despite the occasional jagged edges that sent us slightly askew. Over time those edges have been worn smooth by compromise and forgiveness. The children have copper-taped us in place, burnished by unconditional love, forming a solid family foundation. When we discovered my lump, your lead reinforcement held it all together, stopping us all from bending or breaking, encouraging me to plan and prepare the next piece and the piece after that, and the piece after that.

The soldering is uneven and not always pretty — stupid arguments about who scratched the car and the dozen dirty mugs not placed in the dishwasher caused bumps along the seams — but it’s strong enough to keep everything in place.

Age has patinaed the joints, weathered by circumstances and so much rain.

We wax lyrical about the past, dichroic memories twinkling in retrospect as we polish and refine pieces to be passed on to the children and grandchildren.

Our own creation continues to grow, more slowly and considerately than before but we’re nowhere near the ebony frame and remembrance ribbon yet. As we consider the latest test results and opaqueness of what is to come, we embrace the shafts of sunlight that still shine through our window, casting kaleidoscopes on the ground.

Jan Erskine-Power is an avid reader, gardener, and crafter who loves very short tales and tight deadlines.

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