1
min

Kintsugi

Image of Jon Robson

Jon Robson

268 readings

38

I intentionally smash things. I only break porcelain objects; never glass, for that would be silly.

I listen to them crash as they connect with the travertine tiles and when the silence returns, after a deep breath I open my eyes and scoop down to collect the pieces. On my work-table, I usually spend the day alone finding out how to fix them. It’s addictive. Better than any jigsaw puzzle.

The first breakage was an unfortunate and avoidable accident involving a stick of butter shortly after my wife decided to leave me. Restoring the bowl in a twelve-piece dinner set unexpectedly proved to be the most satisfying of affairs. While I waited for my wife to call me, I broke the other eleven pieces.

Following the dinner-set, I broke anything that took my fancy. A restoration of a Doctor Who Tardis teapot took perseverance and time as it broke into far more pieces than I could have imagined.

I have found the most rewarding breakages to be the most complicated. Restoring a garden gnome breakage involved several painstakingly long stages of adhesion. Placement of pieces relied on the glue setting on the older fragments. Once it was gnome-like again, I had to fill the cracks with epoxy putty, use sandpaper to smoothen it, and pick up a paintbrush to revitalize the gnome’s bright red cap.

I saw that my wife liked a Facebook post that claimed you could fix a cracked plate with warm milk and duct-tape but a simple experiment proved that to be pure nonsense.

The moment you fix something is always a special one. Pressing the last fragment of a coffee mug into the awkward void left in its handle comes with a gratifying silence that lingers for the rest of the day. Everything I mend has a place on my shelf as if it is a medal. I broke it. I fixed it. I can fix anything.

I haven’t been able to fix everything. My late mother's favorite vase with floral patterns - an heirloom - I shamefully released with far too much force the day I saw my wife with that man. It screamed its way off the quartz countertop scattering snowflake-size shards across the kitchen. Much of it became powdery dust.

I have spent many months trying to correct that one-of-a-kind vase, applying every method I can, but the resulting vase, at the time of writing is inferior and unusable, ridden with large gaping holes and unable to stand upright on any shelf. I will keep trying all the same.

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Image of Josh Dale
Josh Dale · ago
A nice confessional piece and also informative. Vivid action that moves throughout too!
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Image of Jon Robson
Jon Robson · ago
Thank you for the read🙏
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Image of ClodaghO
ClodaghO · ago
I really enjoyed this. Great build up of tension, rage and frustration. I'm reading from it also that the narrator cannot fix the one thing that he wants to fix. Well done.
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Image of Jon Robson
Jon Robson · ago
Thank you Clodagh!
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Image of Not-Only But-Also Riley
Not-Only But-Also Riley · ago
Yes. Absolutely yes. What really works in this story for me is that the real story is almost entirely in the subtext. It starts off feeling like a good humor piece about letting out anger, or something along those lines, but slowly it becomes more and more clear that this main character is surrounded by broken things that he can't fix. The asides about the wife are included so deftly that they don't interrupt the flow of the story at all, but they still pack a punch. Basically, what you have managed to do here, is write a story from the point of view of a character who is not really willing to tell the story. That takes a lot of skill, and you've more than pulled it off. The other thing that's great about this though, is that the asides are so well inserted that the humor still shines. The story manages to simultaneously function with and without the subtext. Overall, you've certainly earned a vote from me.
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Image of Jon Robson
Jon Robson · ago
Thank you <3 this feedback means a lot to me!
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Image of tingtingna
tingtingna · ago
In a time where we fret about breakages of all sorts, there is a certain therapeutic flow about this. Nice.
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Image of Ben Jackson
Ben Jackson · ago
I love this version, Jon. The language is crisp, the structure taut, and those images at the ending—"the snowflake-size shards," the "large gaping holes"—carry so much emotional weight.
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Image of Corinne Val
Corinne Val · ago
I liked your humor.
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Image of Jon Robson
Jon Robson · ago
Thank you Corinne!
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Image of Gina
Gina · ago
Love this! The woman in my story posted here could have benefited from this Japanese art. Well done!
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Image of Jon Robson
Jon Robson · ago
Thank you for reading! Your story is queued up in my reading list :)
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Image of Danie Botha
Danie Botha · ago
Jon,
You surprise throughout with brutal dark humor, in lighter and heavier strokes, giving a slanted view of the fragile state of many of our cherished relationships. Well done.

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Image of Jon Robson
Jon Robson · ago
Thank you Danie for the appreciation!
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Image of Operamom
Operamom · ago
So much content in such a short story. Great work!
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Image of Jon Robson
Jon Robson · ago
Thank you 🙏
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Image of Bessie
Bessie · ago
One of the things I liked about this is that in a moment the narrator can break things (or things break surprisingly) and how long it takes to mend them. That the narrator would have gone through the determination of fixing one of the 12 bowls, only to break 11 right after that, got to me. Finally, his mother is gone, her favorite vase is dust, resurrection is useless, all from a moment of jealousy toward his wife who is also gone. I keep thinking his brain is full of shards, as well.
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Image of Jon Robson
Jon Robson · ago
I'm glad this bit was effective! :) Thanks for reading!
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Image of DT1966
DT1966 · ago
‘Smash It Up’ by the Damned comes to mind - ace stuff
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Image of Jon Robson
Jon Robson · ago
Listening to this, this morning :)
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Image of Mcp1
Mcp1 · ago
Beautifully written, great imagery, immediately engaging!
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Image of Jon Robson
Jon Robson · ago
Thank you! 😊
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Image of Kathryn Hunter Herlock
Kathryn Hunter Herlock · ago
A very sharp and witty look at trying to heal a broken relationship. So poignant - “I shall keep trying all the same”
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Image of Jon Robson
Jon Robson · ago
Thanks Kathryn!
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Image of Peter Peterson
Peter Peterson · ago
I really liked this story, just my sense of humor. "for that would be silly" - what a great turn of phrase.
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Image of Jon Robson
Jon Robson · ago
Thank you Peter I had a lot of fun writing this!
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